Melissa Parmer, R.D.

Melissa Parmer, R.D., senior supervisor at the Gilbert (Ariz.) Public Schools, was responsible for the coordination of an $8 million annual budget, the day-to-day supervision of six dietetic interns and menu nutrient analysis at her former position at Par

Why Selected?

[Editor’s note: Parmer was nominated by Kathleen Glindmeier, director of nutrition and wellness at Paradise Valley Unified School District in Phoenix. After two years in the district as nutrition and wellness budget coordinator, Parmer moved to Gilbert in September.]

Glindmeier says: Melissa was responsible for the coordination of an $8 million annual budget, the day-to-day supervision of six dietetic interns and menu nutrient analysis. She was the youngest administrator of more than 100 principals, directors and supervisors. Her knowledge of technology made her an asset. Melissa represents the best of the next generation.

Details

Senior Supervisor, Gilbert Public Schools, Gilbert, AZ
Age: 27
Education: B.S. in dietetics from Arizona State University; working on an MBA from the Benedictine University in Chicago (online program)
Years at organization: 4

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

We had a big project at Gilbert to do nutritional and allergy analysis and get the analysis consistent with what was actually coming through the door. I made sure the products all matched and that all the nutrition and allergy information was on the website accessible to the parents. We are also going to start emailing that to the school nurses. That way parents know exactly what is coming in through the back door.

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

Technology. People my age can maneuver around computers much easier because we’ve grown up with it.

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

As a little girl you hear to treat others as you want to be treated and to stay grounded.

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

My age. I think there is a stereotype that I’m 27 and I’m in this generation that doesn’t care about anything and is on the cell phone all the time. It’s hard to make people stop and say I really do know what I’m talking about.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

Graduating the internship and passing my R.D. exam because then I could start my career.

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

Finish my MBA. I’d like to help transition these schools into the new regulations that are coming down [from the USDA] because I think that is going to be hard for people to get their hands around.

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

When I was an intern in Paradise Valley I ran one of the high schools. I had to do the orders. I didn’t have an email address so one of the other kitchen managers said he would fax the order for me. He faxed the last week’s order so I double bought everything I had already bought the week before. One of the managers had 20 cases of pretzels and they weren’t on the menu for another month.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources