Amanda Carlson

Amanda Carlson's healthy menu changes has made her a success at Vestavia Hills City Schools.

Why Selected?

According to Adrianne Topping, child nutrition program manager, Amanda has made an impact on foodservice by:

  • Making positive healthy changes to the menu to follow new federal and state guidelines
  • Hiring intelligent staff members who have achieved high participation numbers and have displayed excellent marketing tools
  • Being the youngest person to hold this position in the district


Child Nutrition Director, Vestavia Hills City Schools, Vestavia Hills, AL
Age: 29
Education: B.S. in human nutrition and hospitality management from the University of Alabama
Years at organization: 4

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

I feel like my proudest accomplishment is achieving my dream job at the age of 25, working for one of the top school systems in the state. I knew that I wanted to become a child nutrition program director to serve healthy meals to students and help to change the image of school lunch.

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

I am able to think outside of the box and I am open to new ideas and trends in the foodservice industry.

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Choose a career path that provides satisfaction and the opportunity to do work that makes you happy. And, people won’t always remember what you said, but they will remember how you treated them.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

Coming into my job as a 25-year-old and having to gain the trust and respect of my colleagues. Having the support of my school district and administration has helped me to overcome any challenges that have come my way.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

It is always rewarding when you hear students say they enjoyed a new menu item. I am thankful for my child nutrition professional staff who are willing to try new and innovative menu ideas.

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

I want to continue to improve our participation rates for school lunch and breakfast and continue to develop new innovative menu ideas.

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

One summer I had a school freezer go out. When I opened the door to the freezer, the smell of rancid meat overcame me and ruined everything I was wearing. To this day I will never forget that smell.

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

It is funny how I used to worry about things that were out of my control. I have learned to be flexible and not to stress about things that I have no control over.

Under 30

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