Prestigious industry awards were key event at SNA's recent Child Nutrition Industry Conference.
There's a lot going on in the K-12 Schools segment these days, including a major Child Nutrition Bill that makes significant changes in the rules governing reimbursable meal programs.
But as always, at the heart of child nutrition is the field level director who must make the whole thing work where the rubber hits the road: the school cafeteria.
So when the School Nutrition Association (SNA) got together in Seattle in the middle of January, one of its main agenda items was recognizing some of the top performers among its membership.
The vehicle for doing that is the FAME (Foodservice Achievement & Management Excellence) awards, presented each year in several categories to directors and others in the segment who have made significant contributions to child nutrition. (The FAME Awards are sponsored by Basic American Foods, Tyson Foods and the Schwan Food Co.)
The top honor, the Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year Award, went to Lora Gilbert, MS, RD, FADA, SNS, senior director of food & nutrition services for the Orange County (FL) Public Schools. Among her achievements: growing her fund balance from $3.2 million to $11.8 million in three years while booosting secondary meals by 42% and reimbursable meals by 51%.
Also honored were Cindy Hobbs, executive director of child nutrition services for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Schools (Silver Leadership Award); Susan Ehrhart, MS, SNS, foodservice coordinator for the Polk County (FL) Public Schools (Silver Spirit Award); Margan Holloway, director of student nutrition services for the Tamalpais Union HSD in Larekspur, CA (Silver Rising Star Award); Karen Green, school nutrition director for the Thomas County (GA) Schools (Silver Special Achievement Award); and Ron Strasburg, senior account executive for Upper Lakes Foods (Silver Friend of Child Nutrition Award).
The Child Nutrition Conference also featured a full slate of education sessions on topics such as procurement, marketing and the Chef's Table initiative to get outside chefs involved in assisting school nutrition programs.