Sandra Ford, SNS, director of Food & Nutrition Services for the Manatee County (FL) School District, has named as the winner of the Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year Award in the 25th annual Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards program. It is the program's highest honor.

Winners of the other 2014 FAME Award winners are... 
Silver Leadership Award: Constance Little, SNS, supervisor of student nutrition services for the Beavercreek (OH) City Schools;
Silver Spirit Award: Reginald A. Ross, former area supervisor for the 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 for the Hawthorne (CA) School
District;
Silver Rising Star Award: Bertrand Weber, director of culinary and nutrition services for the Minneapolis Public Schools, Special School District #1;
Silver Friend of Child Nutrition Award: Katie Wilson, PhD, SNS, executive director of the National Food Service Management Institute; and
Gertrude Applebaum Lifetime Achievement Award: Jane Wynn, MS, LDN, retired child nutrition director for the School Board of Broward County FL.

Ford is being recognized for her achievements in child nutrition including successful leadership, strategic planning and perseverance. She’s spent the last nine years developing the child nutrition program and staff at Manatee County School District. During her time in her district, she has implemented programs that have increased lunch participation by 14 percent and breakfast by 18 percent. This has positively changed 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 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. She served as the School Nutrition Association (SNA) president during the 2012 -13 term. During her year of service there were many opportunities to make changes that transformed the 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.

For 25 years the FAME Awards have been honoring school nutrition professionals who raise industry standards by tackling challenges within their school districts and communities. The awards will be presented at an event on Jan. 12, 2014 at the Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne, FL, during the SNA School Nutrition Industry Conference. FAME event tickets can be obtained by visiting www.fameawards.net.  For event updates throughout the year, visit www.fameawards.net or www.facebook.com/fameawards.
The 2014 FAME Awards are sponsored by Basic American Foods, Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., and Tyson Foods, Inc.