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Konarik Wins Top FAME Honor

Melanie Konarik, director of child nutrition for the Spring (TX) ISD, has been named winner of the Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year Award in the 24th annual FAME Awards competition.

Melanie Konarik, MS, SNS, RTSBA, director of child nutrition for the Spring (TX) ISD has been named winner of the Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year Award in the 24th annual Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards competition. The other 2013 FAME Award winners include… 

Lori Drenth, RD, SNS, director of food and nutrition services for the Hernando County (FL) School District (Silver Leadership Award);

Amy Harkey, MS, RD, LDN, SNS, child nutrition assistant director for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Schools (Silver Spirit Award);

Dr. Robert Lewis, director of nutrition services for the El Monte (CA) School District (Silver Special Achievement Award);

Jim Hemmen, executive chef and child nutrition services supervisor for the Roosevelt School District in Phoenix (Silver Rising Star Award);

Gary Vonck, vice president-education division of KeyImpact Sales & Systems (Silver Friend of Child Nutrition Award); 

Frank Harris, retired child nutrition director for the Norwalk Public Schools (Gertrude Applebaum Lifetime Achievement Award).

Konarik is being recognized for her dedication to child nutrition and to the health and well-being of the students in her district where she oversees 38 schools, a staff of over 400 and meal service that includes 18,000 breakfasts and 26,000 lunches. Over the last 27 years, she has demonstrated her dedication by her commitment to developing her staff. She is enthusiastic about career development and volunteers her own time to train staff and members of the Texas Association of School Nutrition (TASN) in its offering of certification classes. She seeks out opportunities to have members of her staff recognized for their own professional achievements on a regular basis.

In 2008, Konarik’s school district was named the first School Nutrition Association (SNA) District of the Year.  She received this award for exceeding standard benchmarks in four areas of child nutrition: administration, communications and marketing, nutrition and nutrition education and operations. Judges cited Spring Independent School District for its innovative approaches in meeting numerous challenges.

Konarik understands that nutrition habits are learned early and works with her staff to aid in helping students recognize the importance of balanced nutrition to lead a healthy future.  She has improved healthy offerings by adding more fruits and vegetables along with an Asian line, a made-to-order sub line and milk in plastic container packaging without seeing a drop in participation. A free breakfast to all students is now offered in Konarik’s district after she worked with the local school board to eliminate even a forty cent charge to students on a reduced rate plan. The new policy has been well-received and she is currently initiating a program to provide a supper-type meal to students of families in after school care programs.

Konarik is a savvy financial manager and has improved operations to include credit card payments, security cameras to aid in loss prevention and monthly financial reporting to all managers and supervisors. She is known as a leader, mentor and innovator in the industry of child nutrition.

The 2013 FAME Awards are sponsored by Basic American Foods, Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., and Tyson Foods, Inc. They will be presented at an event on Jan. 13, 2013, at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio during the SNA Child Nutrition Industry Conference. Anyone who is not registered for the conference but would like to attend the awards dinner can purchase a ticket by contacting the National FAME Awards via phone at 417-234-2296 or via email at [email protected]

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