Seven professionals were honored at the 25th annual Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards ceremony January 12th during the School Nutrition Association (SNA) Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC) in Key Biscayne, FL. The most prestigious FAME honor, the Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year Award, was presented to Sandra Ford, SNS, director of Food & Nutrition Services for the Manatee County (FL) School District.

Ford was recognized for her achievements in child nutrition, including successful leadership, strategic planning and perseverance. She has spent the last nine years developing the child nutrition program and staff at Manatee County Schools. During her time in her district, she has implemented programs that have increased lunch participation by 14 percent and breakfast by 18 percent, positively changing the food & nutrition services fund balance from $500,000 in 2004 to $5.2 million in 2013.

Ford’s accomplishments within her district include a thriving staff development program that requires all employees to spend two full days in staff training each year. She has also designed a manager training program to grow staff talent within each level of the nutrition department and has implemented strategies using the SNA Dashboard program for budgeting to effectively manage the bottom line and increase revenues for her department.

Ford is an advocate of student-centered marketing in her district. She has worked to create student-tested menus and limited-time-offers and promotions to keep students interested in the program. This has resulted in increased student acceptance and participation.

Colleagues describe Ford as a servant leader who served as SNA president during the 2012-13 term. During her year of service there were many opportunities to make changes that transformed SNA into an organization that continues to grow and change with the industry. She currently serves at the treasurer of the School Nutrition Foundation. Ford worked with the United Methodist churches in her local community to develop Pack-A-Sack, a program that provides at-risk students with food over the weekend. 

In 2000, Ford was the recipient of the FAME Silver Spirit Award and has been honored by many other organizations in her career, including the USDA and Dairy Council of Greater Kansas City.

The other 2014 FAME Award winners were...  
Silver Leadership Award: Constance Little, SNS, supervisor, student nutrition services, Beavercreek (OH) City Schools;
Silver Spirit Award: Reginald A. Ross, former area supervisor, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Schools (Ross recently accepted a new position as Region 6 Operations Consultant with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in Charlotte);
Silver Special Achievement Award: Anna Apoian, food service director, Hawthorne (CA) School District;
Silver Rising Star Award: Bertrand A. Weber, director, culinary and nutrition services, Minneapolis Public Schools, Special School District #1;
Silver Friend of Child Nutrition Award: Katie Wilson, PhD, SNS, executive director, National Food Service Management Institute;
Gertrude Applebaum Lifetime Achievement Award: Jane Wynn, MS, LDN, retired child nutrition director, The School Board of Broward County, FL.

The 26th annual National FAME Awards program will be presented at a ceremony in Phoenix on Jan. 11, 2015, during SNA’s 2015 CNIC. For additional information or updates through the year for the FAME Awards program, rules and the nomination process, go to www.fameawards.net or Facebook.com/fameawards.

The 2014 FAME Awards were sponsored by Basic American Foods, Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., and Tyson Foods, Inc.