By Patricia L. Fitzgerald, Editor 2015-04-27 00:37:41
Friday, May 1, is the third annual School Lunch Hero Day celebration, followed by School Nutrition Employees Week, observed this year May 4-8. These official recognition occasions were developed to build public awareness about the hard work, creativity and dedication on display in America’s school cafeterias all year long. We all know that school nutrition is an under-appreciated profession, which is why it’s so important to use these occasions to let your team members know how much you value all that they do. I hope you make it a point to recognize all of your team members this month—perhaps paying special attention to those who do not work on the front lines in cafeterias, but who keep the operation humming along behind the scenes. I’ve often marveled at the dedication of the longtime staffers who don’t have the opportunity to be buoyed by the energy and smiles of students passing through the cafeteria each day. Earlier this spring, the magazine team visited with the Food and Nutrition Services staff of Prince George’s County (Md.) Public Schools. While we explored a high school kitchen, the bulk of our time was spent getting to know several members of Director Joan Shorter’s central office team. We got an informative tour from Area Supervisor Karen Lide, visited the staff in both the Applications and Accounting Centers, enjoyed a long conversation with Food and Nutrition Specialists Rochelle Lightner and Pia Puertollano about their work and would have met with other staffers to discuss USDA Foods, procurement and much more, had we not hit information overload! (Many thanks to one and all for their generous time.) One clear takeaway for me was that each of these staff members was just as passionate about their school nutrition careers as those working in the schools. This has proven true of the various department secretaries, production kitchen workers, warehouse managers, delivery truck drivers, maintenance crew and other administrative and operations-based employees I’ve encountered over the years. Many of these professionals take pride in being members of SNA and working on behalf of children, even if their jobs seem a few steps removed from the department’s customers— they are most worthy of celebrating as school nutrition heroes! Finally, I want to recognize an under-sung hero of the magazine team: Senior Director of Communications Maria Robertson, who is leaving SNA after 22 years to pursue exciting new opportunities. Arguably the consummate behind-the-scenes leader, Maria has made a tremendous impact on so many aspects of our awardwinning magazine’s design, content, production and bottom line (along with other areas of SNA’s communications)—I don’t have space to enumerate them all. Simply put: I could not have asked for a better business partner, creative collaborator and supportive supervisor. Thank you, Maria, for being one of SNA’s—and my— heroes.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/First+Word/1992399/256440/article.html.