Janice King SNA Member Since 2004 » Auburn, Massachusetts “Create your future.” That’s a personal motto that Janice King, MEd, RDN, CDE, SNS, director of foodservices for Auburn (Mass.) Public Schools, lives by. She defines this as “living proactively personally and professionally,” asserting that she doesn’t particularly care for downtime. “I like to keep achieving,” she explains. And achieve she has. Here, this active SNA leader at both the state and national levels, and a former Massachusetts SNA Director of the Year, shares her passion for lifelong learning and offers advice to those contemplating an SNA leadership role. On Leadership I’ve worked as a foodservice director in a variety of settings for 40 years, and I am constantly delighted by the opportunity to shape the conversation about food. Earlier in my career, I was a director at a medical center and then at Amherst College, before moving into consulting work. I began my school nutrition career in 2004 as the director for Quaboag Regional School District in Warren, Mass. I joined SNA as I was starting that job. Since 2014, I’ve been in my current role as foodservice director for Auburn (Mass.) Public Schools. I always wanted to assume leadership roles. My journey began my first year as an SNA member, when a state president encouraged me to run for a delegate-elect position. I said “yes” right away. Later, I was 2010-11 president of SNA of Massachusetts and have served on both the national Resolutions and Bylaws and Leadership Development Committees. I’m currently chair of the Certificate and Credentialing Governing Council. SNA has given me so much, so serving as a leader is my opportunity to give back. I’ve discovered that I want to continue to learn and serve—I embrace lifelong learning. I think my leadership strengths are in motivating people to identify creative solutions and seek out opportunities. I can see the big picture, and I work to develop a large community of influence through my affiliations with different organizations. Leadership can be daunting, but if you pay attention to opportunities, are adaptable and look out for people, you’ll chart the right course. To be a leader, you need a high level of commitment with a clear vision to accomplish your own goals and those of the group. You must be a forward thinker; always a step ahead of the curve. Also, you must be willing to adapt your skills, goals and timelines as necessary. Patience and persistence are hallmarks of leadership. On Past & Future Goals I’ve always had ambition. I take the greatest pride in earning my master’s degree in nutrition education in 2013, after deciding I needed to open more doors for myself. Going forward, I want to continue to work in school nutrition and expand consulting opportunities related to training and education. Plus, I can envision developing networks that support greater access to healthy food through the sourcing of local goods. I’ve also thought about pursuing international missionary work to support sustainable agriculture initiatives, as well as nutrition and food programs. When I set goals, I put a plan together and think about how I can fit the steps into my schedule. For example, I’m almost finished with a two-year commitment to teach a college-level course in foodservice systems, so maybe my next steps are to make contacts related to consulting work and start a PhD program in order to learn more about public policy. I’m also interested in an SNA leadership position for 2018 and I’m figuring out what the next steps will be to pursue that. In setting goals and working to achieve them, I believe the more committed you are, the more blessings keep rolling in. On Inspiration I’m inspired by a wide variety of leaders and global thinkers. I like to read professional development books. Also, I watch TED, TEDx and TEDMED Talks, as well as TED-Ed Lessons, which all bring a unique group of people together to think about the universe of learning. I might find myself inspired by someone who isn’t in my profession, such as someone who works in technology. When I think about inspiration and influence, I also think about innovation, which happens when you reach outside of the box or sphere of your professional expertise. To touch the minds and hearts of our students, who are now global thinkers themselves, we must think outside of that box. We must find what works for them in order for us to understand and relate. When I’m going through tough times, I’m helped by my resilience and optimism to start each day fresh, with a new page to fill with the work that matters. Reading, seeking prayerful guidance, sewing, crafting and gardening help, too. I also like cooking and exploring new foods, restaurants and grocery stores. My advice to someone new to school nutrition is to network, network, network! Study the business of school nutrition, observe industry trends, learn about the psychology of our customer base and build your skills every day. Contemplating an SNA leadership position? You can find spaces and places to be a leader, even if you can’t leave the district very often. Start by sharing your talents with your local chapter and state associations. Attend conferences and trainings, introducing yourself to new people and asking for help. Know that leadership opportunities don’t always present themselves at a convenient time in your life! Take a leap of faith and say “yes.” If every SNA member committed to doing one thing as a leader, no matter how small, what an amazing seismic shift we could generate! Everyone has something they can do to make a difference. 30-SECOND BIO CHILDHOOD HOMETOWN Brookston, Indiana CURRENT HOMETOWN North Brookfield, Massachusetts EDUCATION B.S.,Nutrition and Food Management, Purdue University, Indiana; M.Ed., Nutrition Education, Framingham State University, Massachusetts YEARS IN SCHOOL NUTRITION 14 TITLE Director of Food Services EMPLOYER Auburn (Mass.) Public Schools PROGRAM AT A GLANCE 5 schools, 2,500 students, 19 employees, $850,000 budget. Offers breakfast and lunch and will expand to pre-K students next fall. Recently began a culinary and nutrition club for 4th-graders. SNA LEADERSHIP 2010-11 SNA of Massachusetts President; Current SNA Certificate and Credentialing Governing Council Chair FAMILY Husband William (“married 40 years”), children Andrew (27) and Emily (23), pet dairy goat Daisy (“She is the last of our 4-H prize-winning herd.”) As told to Cecily Walters, a freelance writer in Portland, Ore., and a former SN managing editor.
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