What has been your proudest career accomplishment within the last year?

Receiving my School Nutrition Specialist Credential.

How has the COVID pandemic changed your approach to foodservice?

I like to plan ahead, but COVID taught me that isn’t always possible. As my superintendent always says—be like jello.

What’s been your most rewarding moment?

Several years ago, I was a food truck driver for our summer meals program. It was the first day of the summer program on a brand-new route—we had no idea what to expect. When I pulled up to the stop, there were nearly 100 kids from my regular school, along with their siblings and friends, all waiting for us and even cheering that we had arrived! It was one of the most emotional and rewarding things I have ever experienced.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

Taking over as a new director in a new district, in a new town, in a new state during the COVID pandemic!

How do you think the industry will change in the next five years, and how will that impact your goals? 

The pandemic has really pushed school nutrition professionals into the spotlight over the last 18 months, and I hope that allows for some long-overdue changes. I think universal meals are within reach, as well as recognizing “lunch ladies” as true foodservice professionals that play an integral part of education.

Lunch periods shouldn’t be an afterthought anymore, but a keystone of the school day. As all of these changes come about, I think educational and career goals for not only me, but so many school nutrition professionals, will be more attainable and easier to achieve.