Lora Gilbert, MS, RD, FADA, SNS, has been named the winner of the Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year Award, the top honor in the 22nd annual Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards program. Gilbert is senior director of food & nutrition services for the Orange County (FL) Public Schools.
The other 2011 FAME Award winners were...
• Cindy E. 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 High School District in Larkspur, 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, Inc., (Silver Friend of Child Nutrition Award).
Gilbert is described by her colleagues as being an effective strategist. She has been able to combine the goals of her school board with the state and federal government requirements to meet nutritional requirements for children in Orange County Public Schools.
Gilbert sought out talent with diverse career backgrounds including Disney, Universal and large hospitals to create a results-oriented management team. Her staff provides measurable results to track effectiveness in operations in order to meet participation goals, demonstrate compliance and stay on budget.
Under Gilbert’s leadership team, reimbursable meals have increased by 51 percent in seven years in Orange County, and the goal of 40 percent of revenue spent on labor and food has been met over the last four years. Additional revenue has been generated by Gilbert’s staff by providing nutrition services to the community’s summer program, recreational programs, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA’s, the Rescue Mission and many church groups.
In addition, a Cooperative Cart Program was developed to aid student organizations in fundraising over $800,000 by allowing them to “check out” mobile food carts from the food service program while still selling healthy, safe foods.
Nutrition education opportunities for students, teachers and school foodservice staff are provided on an ongoing basis by Gilbert and her staff of three dieticians and two nutritionists. Student satisfaction is a key to the success Gilbert has had at Orange County Public Schools. No product is added to the menu without testing and approval from students. In her tenure, she has earned the trust of her colleagues because she has high standards and can articulate goals achieved through measurable results.
The FAME awards will be presented at an event on Jan.16, 2011 at the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle during the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC). Anyone who is not registered for the CNIC conference but would like to attend the awards dinner can purchase a ticket by contacting the National FAME Awards via phone at 417-234-2296 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2011 FAME Awards are sponsored by Basic American Foods, Schwan’s Food Services, Inc., and Tyson Foods, Inc.