Bethlehem Central School District
Most rewarding moment so far:
Being able to be a part of an employee’s journey to better themselves and our programs. I have a specific employee who was really struggling with juggling everything in life. I saw some raw talent in her and was able to provide her an opportunity to grow. She has become a great employee and moved up the ranks to be a leader in our department.
What drew you to noncommercial:
When I was just starting out in my career, I had a goal to effect change through grassroots movements to improve eating behaviors. Child nutrition programs are able to impact children and, through them, their families. Eating behaviors and habits are reformed when children bring healthy ideas home from school. This is an ideal that still drives me today. Also, my husband is a music educator and to have a similar schedule was a bonus.
How the industry will change:
My hope is that universal free meals are on the horizon or at least a move closer to it. I also think technology will increase in both the equipment we use and the communication we do with parents and students.
Future career goals:
In the short-term, to improve cooperative bidding for local self-op programs in my region. I am already a part of a small startup group of schools for next year—with the help of two other amazing school foodservice directors—and hope to see that expand in the future. In the long term, to build a really dynamic program here, which includes things like preordering meals for high school students, becoming a leader in local food procurement and usage, building a robust catering department and possibly provide healthy dinners for staff, such as teachers, to improve their quality of life at a low price tag and help the district with a unique employee benefit.