Erin Thacker, R.D.

Erin Thacker's respect for district administrators has made her a success at Chesapeake Public Schools.

Why Selected?

According to Joanne Kinsey, director of school nutrition services, Erin has made an impact on foodservice by:

•Garnering the respect of administrators in the district. Erin serves on a number of committees
•Securing additional funds to support the program. She has applied for and received $226,000 in grants
•Being the prime contact for special dietary meal requirements. She has developed documentation and works closely with the nurses at each school to help these students participate in our program
 

Details

Nutrition and Wellness Educator, Chesapeake Public Schools, Chesapeake, VA
Age: 26
Education: B.S. in human nutrition, foods and exercise from Virginia Tech
Years at organization: 3

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Planning the menus and implementing an itemized point-of-sale system to meet the new K-12 USDA meal pattern certification requirements.

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

I am able to learn new computer software concepts quickly and can be instrumental in training others.

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

Don’t worry when things don’t go exactly as planned. Move forward and determine what you can do for the best possible outcome. 

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

Managing the increasing number of food allergies and other special dietary requests in the school district.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

I was honored when two seniors on our high school food and nutrition council asked me to write letters of recommendation on their behalf. I know how important recommendation letters are when applying to college.
 

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

Our district was just awarded a USDA Farm-to-School Planning Grant. I want to use this opportunity to develop a comprehensive farm-to-school plan and apply for an implementation grant next year. My goal is to increase the amount of local foods available on our menus.
 

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

We ran out of clementines for our fruit and vegetable program. I ended up going into the nearest grocery store and purchasing all of the clementines it had in the produce department. I know I looked ridiculous checking out with a cart full of clementines.
 

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

I dressed up in a tiger mascot costume during Healthy Virginians Week to deliver fresh orange slices to each classroom in an elementary school. The costume was old, hot and way too big! Looking back at pictures I laugh and know it was worth it because the students had a great time.
 

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
unsung heroes graphic

Febin Bellamy, a senior at Georgetown University, is the founder of Unsung Heroes, a nonprofit that features service workers on college campuses in man-on-the-street-style Facebook interviews. This year, Bellamy is working with a dozen schools to launch their own chapters of the storytelling platform. Here’s what he’s learned about staff shoutouts.

Q: Why did you decide to start Unsung Heroes?

A: One day I started a conversation with a custodial worker in the business school that I would see all the time. I learned that we had a lot of similarities; for instance, we both wanted to...

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

FSD Resources