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

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources