Anthony Geraci has stepped down as director of nutrition services for the Shelby County (Tenn.) School District for "personal family reasons," according to a district spokesperson. Geraci, who originally joined the district in the fall of 2011 when it consisted only of the Memphis City Schools, was noted for bringing an intensive focus on high-quality, nutritious meals incorporating plenty of fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
The current Shelby County district was formed in 2013 when the county and Memphis city systems were consolidated into one district with some 160,000 students and 260 school sites. Geraci subsequently took over direction of the combined nutrition services departments, which together had a budget close to $100 million.
Among Geraci's initiatives at Memphis and Shelby County were successful implementations of universal meal programs encompassing breakfast, lunch and supper, a sophisticated central production operation that turns out scratch-cooked, portioned meals and a school garden program that also incorporated a 14-acre urban farm.
Before joining Memphis, Geraci headed nutrition services operations for the Baltimore City Schools, where he implemented many of the same types of programs he subsequently brought to Memphis/Shelby County. Originally from New Orleans, Geraci operated his own restaurant, the Creole themed Antoine's, in Santa Cruz, Calif., before entering the school nutrition community at Contoocook (N.H.) Schools.
The department will continue functioning under the direction of the district's Business Operations office until a new director is named.