July 23—Sherri Knutsen, a student nutrition services coordinator who developed several healthier dining programs for the Rochester (Minn.) Public School district, was named the 2012 National Outstanding Director of the Year by the School Nutrition Association. The award was presented during the association's 66th Annual National Conference, which was held last week in Denver.
Knutson has more than 20 years' experience in school foodservice; she oversees operations in 23 schools in her district. Knutson was recognized for her work to create healthier dining programs for her students, including starting a breakfast in the classroom pilot, a gluten-free menu, and piloting a fresh fruit and vegetable initiative in the district.
Mitzi Marshall, cafeteria manager for Southern Elementary School in Georgetown, Ky., was given the National Louise Sublette Award of Excellence for her menu improvements that helped increase participation in healthy options at school meals.
Kathie Sardeson, of Lassen View Elementary in Redding, Calif., received the National Heart of the Program Award. Kathie was described as "always going the extra mile for her students, staff and school community."
In other news from the conference, Sandra Ford, director of food and nutrition for the Manatee County School District in Florida, was named SNA's 65th president. Ford has worked in districts in Kansas and Florida; she has been with Manatee County for the past eight years, during which time she financially turned around the district's foodservice program. Ford also won the FAME Silver Spirit Award in 200 and was named Florida Director of the Year in 2009.