Memphis City Schools is bringing back former director Shirley Watkins to oversee changes in its controversy-plagued school nutrition department. Watkins won a Silver Plate Award for her work at Memphis Schools before joining the USDA, where she eventually was named Undersecretary of Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services under President Clinton.
Memphis’s nutrition services department has been under scrutity following an investigation last year that revealed rampant mismanagement, waste and violations of state and federal regulations. Former director James Jordan resigned amid revelations of improper food handling and business practices at the district's food warehouse that resulted in nearly $600,000 worth of food being discarded because it had been improperly stored, had been thawed and refrozen, had expired or had been so overpacked into a freezer that air could not properly circulate to keep it at the correct temperature.
The Memphis district feeds more than 110,000 students a day and has a budget of $56 million.