The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognized three school foodservice professionals at its 66th Annual National Conference in Denver. In addition to state and regional award winners, three SNA members received national recognition for their superior accomplishments in the school nutrition arena:
The National Louise Sublette Award of Excellence was awarded to Mitzi Marshall, cafeteria manager for Southern Elementary School in Georgetown, KY. Marshall’s menu improvements have helped steadily increase the number of students and faculty choosing healthy school lunches and breakfasts each day. Students love Marshall’s fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies at breakfast, and she’s even juicing vegetables and adding them to spaghetti sauce, chili and lasagna. Marshall designed a “Student Spotlight” program to encourage students to make healthier food choices, and she has educated parents in her community about the nutrition and value of school meals.
The 2012 National Outstanding Director of the Year is Sherri Knutson, student nutrition services coordinator for Rochester (NY) Public Schools. With over 20 years of experience in the school foodservice industry, she oversees cafeteria operations in 16 elementary schools, four middle schools and three high schools as well as programs at alternative town sites. Knutson worked with district administration to develop and implement a “Breakfast in the Classroom” pilot program and has also been the driving force in developing a nationally recognized gluten-free menu, developing a cutting edge health and wellness program and piloting a fresh fruit and vegetable initiative in the district.
This year’s National Heart of the Program Award goes to Kathie Sardeson of Lassen View Elementary in Redding, CA. She eagerly took on new tasks when her school began offering free breakfast for all students and launched a new mid-morning, healthy snack cart for students. Sardeson enjoys experimenting with new recipes that add nutrition, color and taste appeal to the menu. Kids love her “Fear Factor Smoothie” made with fruit, yogurt and leafy greens, and she even convinced students to try Kale Chips during a recent “Harvest of the Month” taste test. Sardeson’s supervisor writes that “Kathie is always going the extra mile for her students, staff, and school community. Kathie is the ‘Heart of the Program’ at Lassen View Elementary.”