Proudest career accomplishment in the past year:
After working with my district to repurpose land for a district-owned 11-acre farm, I got to see the fruits of my labor—literally. In 2018, SCUSD provided 30,000 pounds of fresh produce to its students. Seeing elementary students eager to try kale because they knew it was grown just for them, or pile their plates with persimmons, was by far one of my proudest achievements.
Best career advice you’ve been given:
Most rewarding moment so far:
In the past, I worked for a district that was 96% free and reduced. One Monday morning, a brother and sister who came into the cafeteria shared with me that this was their first meal since eating on Friday. There is an incredible quote [attributed to] Anne Frank: “Hunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” I felt privileged in that moment to know that I had the power to make a difference. I decided to start Breakfast After the Bell districtwide so that no child in the district would have to learn on an empty stomach. It was incredibly powerful to see that program come into fruition.
Biggest challenge you’ve overcome:
The perception of school food. People think school meals just come from cans or freezers and can’t be prepared well. It continually seems like an uphill battle to educate people; however, SCUSD hopes to be part of the movement that changes the tide—helping people see how delicious school food can be while maintaining a high nutrition standard.