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Food Service Director
Paris Community Unit School District No. 4
15601 US Hwy 150, Paris, IL 61944
Melanie Johnson began working as the Food Service Director at Crestwood School in August of 2007. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University in Family and Consumer Science. Before joining the staff a Paris Community Unit School District No. 4, Melanie was the Operations and Retail/Catering Manager at Terre Haute Regional Hospital for seven years. Melanie has been instrumental in applying for grants to improve our cafeteria service. She recently received a grant from the St. Louis Dairy Council to purchase a glass front cooler for our cafeteria. She was instrumental in applying for the Healthier US School Challenge, where our school was recognized as a bronze school and will receive a monetary award of $500. She is an important part of our school wellness committee.
As the Food Service Director for Crestwood School Melanie Johnson plans and supervises the preparation of menus and meals for the district. She ensures all health and safety standards are maintained through proper food handling and preparation. Our kitchen consistently receives 100% ratings from our local health department. Melanie is responsible for purchasing all food and nonfood goods. She is extremely organized and stays on top of all state and federal regulations concerning food service. Melanie manages the work schedules of all cafeteria staff and ensures healthy meals are prepared for students and staff daily. Melanie goes above and beyond the regular duties of a food service director. Melanie frequently prepares additional meals for staff in-service workshops, special administrative meetings, parent workshops, and school family gatherings. She is very creative with her meals and they are displayed in an attractive manner. Our local first responders attend our annual meeting and always comment on the delicious breakfast casserole she prepares. For parent teacher conferences Melanie prepares a wonderful array of healthy vegetables and pin wheel wraps that staff members look forward to each year. When asked to prepare extra meals Melanie’s creativity shines. She chooses items where she can showcase her talents and make everyone’s mouth water wanting more. Each year our students participate in the nationwide Great Apple Crunch. Melanie always orders and cleans all apples before they are distributed for this special event. Melanie is constantly looking for ways to improve student lunches and getting students excited about eating a school lunch. Posters are displayed around the cafeteria encouraging healthy eating. Different options for milk and a la carte items are available for purchase. A colorful school lunch menu is distributed which outlines the options for each day’s breakfast and lunch choices. The calorie count is included on the menu for the main entrée of the day. Individual salads, wraps, and sunbutter sandwiches are available daily to increase the choices for each student. Melanie ensures students are greeted with a smiling face each day. She takes the time to get to know the students and has conversations to improve the student staff relationship. Melanie is an extremely hard worker and her dedication to her job shows in her ability to successfully manage multiple tasks at a time. When faced with budget cuts in our district, she graciously agreed to cut a part-time position in the cafeteria. When scheduling issues arose with lunch times, she immediately agreed to cut out the five minutes between each lunch period in order for students to get the most out of their day. Decisions like these are not always easy to make, but Melanie is always willing to do what is in the best interest of the students. Melanie’s hard work ethic and dedication to her profession shines through in not only what her job requires
Red Bud Elementary School
Red Bud CUSD #132
200 West Field Drive Red Bud, IL 62278
Joyce has been employed by Red Bud CUSD #132 since 2002. She took the role of Head Cook in 2015. Joyce has been an absolute asset to our Elementary School. She enjoys cooking and does it well. She is very particular in knowing the rules and enforcing them with her staff and the students. She works very hard to make her meals enjoyable, but stay within her budget. She is always a pleasure to work with. She treats her employees well and all of them speak very highly of her. She is truly a treasure.
Joyce goes above and beyond on a daily basis. She loves the kids and it shows in all of her work. We had an annual review last year and I had to work very closely with her during that time. Joyce's portion of the review was excellanet. There were only minor changes that neded to be made and Joyce was happy to accomodate. Joyce is very knowledgable in her area and many other employees look to her for guidance. Joyce is always willing to help others out and never complains when more is asked of her. I truly believe Joyce is an excellent employee and I recommend her for the School Nutrition Champion Award.
Eureka High School
200 west cruger avenue eureka, Il. 61530
Mrs. Logue begin her journey in the world of being a lunch lady less than two years ago. She always worked in the private sector before coming to us as our head cook. Her cooking experience was mainly at home but that did not deter us from hiring her based on her positive personality and love of kids.
Gaylene has changed the environment completely from heat and serve to home made style meals that the kids love. Mrs. Logue goes out of her way to ask students and adults if they like what she is serving and how to make it better in the future. She also works well with the student workers in the cafeteria and this has become the best "job" any student could find. Daily she will write what she is serving that day on the marker boards by the lunch lines but she also includes the weather and a positive quote to ponder. Each quote is some type of inspiration for the students to be nice, smile, take care of one another, etc. What truly sets Gaylene apart from others is her willingness to create dishes that these students don't normally see in a school lunch program or maybe at home. She will start with the school commodities and then figure out how to create something using a variety of other items that she has purchased. Our school also has 10 raised garden beds in the back of the school where produce is grown by the students in the agriculture program. Gaylene will go out there weekly to pick produce that she can add to recipes or put in the salad bar. She will also seek out produce from her garden and others to add to the menu. Some of her creations have been roasted cauliflower soup, pan roasted zucchini, and fried green tomatoes. In summary, we are blessed to have Gaylene Logue as our head cook and inspirational leader. She has no idea that I am nominating her for this honor and probably would not the attention but I think she would be a great candidate for your award
Director of Transportation
Director of Food Service
Township High School District 211
Township High School District 211
1750 S Roselle Road, Palatine, IL 60067
Director of Food Services Stacy Lenihan aids in the establishment of safe and healthful procedures for the District’s food service department. She is responsible for upholding nutrition standards for meals provided to students. She also is responsible for adherence to National School Meal Program regulations, as well as assisting with training, purchasing, record keeping, and selection and evaluation of food service personnel. She also is responsible for adherence to National School Meal Program regulations, as well as assisting with training, purchasing, record keeping, and selection and evaluation of food service personnel. Ms. Lenihan began her District 211 career in January 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree from Bradley University (Peoria, Ill.) in food, nutrition, and dietetics and received a master’s degree from Benedictine University (Lisle, Ill.) in nutrition and wellness. She is a registered dietitian and has the Illinois Sanitation License.
Stacy (and her entire foods staff in all five high schools) are remarkable in the quality and nutritious value of foods they offer. That alone is a tremendous feat, but she goes well beyond that with the "catering" she does for any activity or meeting that may take place anywhere at our facilities. The selection and presentation will rival any convention center organization. She (and her assistant) are present but stealth in their ability to layout the food, keep it plentiful and presentable. She is readily available to help in any situation and is always running with some foods delivery, or setup or new project. She worked with each high school and created Cafes for the students. Breakfast items, smoothies, snacks, etc. They are packed with students daily! She takes on interns and encourages new recipes and ideas that not only fulfill state requirements but also awakens the palates of all! (her chicken salad sandwiches are out of this world!!)
Food Service Manager
Under CARREY'S CARE Corporation
13763 S. Lowe Riverdale, IL 60827
Ms. Buford has worked with the Food Program for over 10 years, she has worked with staff to ensure that they are well equipped to complete reporting and food service related task. Ms. Has been the cook, supervisor, and now food service manager, her expertise in training and developing food service staff that are professional, quality focused and efficient is magical.
Ms. Buford ensures that the children and staff are given not only the required daily supplements but includes lots of love in each food service. Ms Buford as she walks around the center and hallways notices what children may have additional nutritional needs and supports the families in securing SNAP and other food supports. Ms. Buford loves the work that she does and it shows in every meal that is served under her helm. We are blessed and thankful to have a beautiful soul like her on staff.
Asst Supt for Business/CSBO
Director of Food Services
Arlington Heights School District 25, River Trails District 26, Mt. Prospect D57, Prospect Heights D23
1200 S DUNTON AVE
Coletta has been the Director of Food Services in District 25 for nearly 18 years. Prior to District 25, she worked for Westmont Community Unit School District and Evanston Township High School. Before her career in school food service, Coletta worked in food service in the private sector. She received a BS in Food Service Management from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with minors in nutrition and business. Coletta is one of the founding members of the Northern Illinois Independent Purchasing Cooperative, a buying group made up of 74 districts. She is a past president of the Illinois School Nutrition Association and currently serves on the National Legislative Committee. She has authored multiple articles for the IASBO Update Magazine. Coletta has received a number of awards as follows: 2011 Executive Management Program, Georgetown University – School Nutrition Association, 2009 Those Who Excel, Award of Excellence: Team – State of IL, 2009 Those Who Excel, Award of Merit: Support Personnel – State of IL, 2009 Food Service Director of the Year – IL School Nutrition Association, 2001 ICONS Award – IL School Food Service Association, 1998 Presidents Award – IL School Food Service Association, 1997 Creative Nutrition Association – Nutrition Education and Training, 1996 Nutrition Advisory Council of the Year (State of IL) – American School Food Service Association, and 1995 Those Who Excel, Award of Merit: Support Personnel – State of IL,
Coletta is committed to providing student lunches with a high nutritional value. She continues to look for ways to help children make healthy food choices. Some of these ways include providing more fresh fruits and vegetables, providing whole grain rolls, working with Domino’s pizza to do a whole wheat crust, adding fruit and vegetable bars, attempting a snack program with fresh fruits and vegetable, and adding a zip line to provide lunch options for students who don't want to wait in the regular line. Coletta is in complete control of her operations. She includes staff input in the design of new programs and cross trains staff to be able to move employees around to key rolls in order to provide superior service to students. She spends time in the buildings and the kitchen. This provides leadership and support to her employees. I am aware of two individuals who worked as Assistant Food Service Managers to Coletta who have now moved on to take the Director of Food Service position in other districts and continue to be highly successful in expanding their programs in ways parallel to what Coletta has done. This is the greatest compliment to Coletta in that these individual’s successes are based on her guidance and mentoring. Coletta reaches out to parents, students and staff to provide input in the food service program. The extent to which she reaches out is evidence of her commitment to the success of the program. She has applied for and received number of grants to benefit schools including: a CDC grant that paid for a new fitness room in a District 25 Middle School, a Healthier US challenge grant at D26 two schools, a fruit and vegetable grants for D26, and a Trailblazer award from D26. Coletta is highly cost conscious when it comes to her program. Her goal is not to have the District funds subsidize the cost of the food service program, and she continues to look for ways to add value. Through intergovernmental agreements, she has taken on the management of the food service programs for District’s 23, 26 and 57, which has brought additional revenue to District 25 while saving money for all of the other districts. District 25’s food service program is one that other district’s want to model. I have been approached by many colleagues who have heard how excellent our program is. This is all due to Coletta’s leadership. She provides choice, nutrition and is constantly looking for ways to improve. In her "spare time", Coletta spearheads a local soup kitchen with her church that feeds the homeless and provides meals for a homeless shelter, assists with her local church with their annual fundraiser, and works some weekends helping prepare sandwiches as a fund raiser for the church youth group.
Foods Service Director
Shepherd Middle School (She serves all schools in the District)
Ottawa Elementary School District
701 E. McKinley Rd., Ottawa, IL 61350
The nominee has been with the Ottawa Elementary School District for 8 years. She previously served as the Food's Director at the LaSalle County Nursing Home. The nominee was nominated to the Illinois School Nutrition Association Board for the 2015-2016 school year and serves as a member of the USDA Foods Committee.
The nominee started out as our Foods Service Director, her first priority was to initiate a breakfast program. Although this was not required of her, she did this for the benefit of the students in which she serves. This required a lot of additional work on per part due to State and Federal guidelines, but she was eager to make many positive changes to not only improve student nutrition but to also save the District money. Another new initiative that the nominee started on her own is by creating healthier food options, even prior to State mandates. She started a daily salad option to encourage students to make healthier food choices. In addition, she goes out of her way to bake 'Healthy Smart Snacks' for school and District fundraisers that support students. She has taken on many leadership roles in educating staff throughout the District on healthy snack options as well as requirement criteria in order to meet State and Federal mandates. The nominee has taken a lead role in organizing a District Wellness Committee. In addition, she has formulated food safety plans for the district, created policies on staff dress code, food handling, foot safety, illnesses, etc. She works countless hours beyond what is required in order to meet the needs of students, staff, and the District as a whole. Additionally, she has provided trainings to other schools throughout the County in order to promote better nutrition throughout our surrounding communities. The nominee has a positive working relationship with staff, students, school board members, parents, community members, and the superintendent. She is highly respected and regarded as one of our most dedicated and hardworking individuals. She is consistently volunteering to make food items to support athletic events, drama dinner theaters, reward incentives for students, fundraisers, and treats for Board meetings. All of these things are done on her own time, and she never asks for any compensation for all of her extra hard work- and her positive attitude is highly contagious. She has made an impact not only on a personal level, but throughout the District and community.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Services
Food Service Director
River Trails Middle School
Arlington Heights 25
Coletta Hines Newell works for Arlington Heights School District 26 but runs Food Service for River Trails SD26, Mt Prospect 57, and Prospect Heights SD23 as well as Arlington Heights 26. Stacey Mallek from Arlington Heights 25 has submitted an application for Coletta that we at River Trails SD 26 would like to support.
Due to Coletta's hard work and innovative approach, our cooperative food service agreement has been a model for other school districts to follow. One food service director for all programs allows our districts to share expertise and take advantage of efficiencies including similar menus and programs and consolidated purchasing. It allows our district to keep food service in-house without having to manage the program while still maintaining control and providing our students with more nutritious options. Coletta has gone above and beyond to make our National School Lunch program both nutritious and appealing to students. Students daily choose from a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables displayed in appealing formats. She completed the applications and all three of our schools have been awarded the HealthierUS School Challenge Award. She recently switched our low income school to Breakfast After the Bell and she provides our summer school students and other children under 18 with both breakfast and lunch. Her Food Service program supports a monthly nutrition program for first graders. Children explore foods by learning about where their food comes from, about the farmers who grow it, nutrition facts and how to prepare healthy, delicious recipes. Each month a new food group is introduced. Coletta constantly runs taste tests of new food items to promote nutritious eating. The middle school recently hosted a veggie week where the students promoted eating veggies and trying new varieties. Coletta was instrumental in implementing a program to compost all kitchen waste. Recently the middle school students joined in by recycling and composting the cafeteria waste. In addition, Coletta is always searching for grant opportunities for our district. We were recently awarded a National School Lunch Program Equipment Grant for $14,700 and Euclid Elementary School was one of the first school's to receive the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant. Coletta also participates on our District's Wellness Committee and makes recommendations for improvements to our Student Wellness Policy including our guidelines of students bringing only fresh fruits and vegetables or hard cheese as a snack.
Earlville CUSD 9
415 W. Union St. Earlville, IL. 60518
Deb has worked with Earlville for 5 years and is the Cafeteria Supervisor
It is a resounding pleasure to write this letter of recommendation for Mrs. Deb Peters. I have known Deb for five years. During that time, she worked in the cafeteria in many capacities at Earlville C.U.S.D. No. 9, where I serve as school principal. In addition to being extremely reliable, dependable, and flexible, Deb exhibits a passion for children. Mrs. Peters has transformed our cafeteria into a place where children feel safe, comfortable, and loved. The food is top notch and almost all of our students eat the “hot lunch” because if tastes so good. Deb keeps the cafeteria clean, streamlined, and effective. At the holidays she always dressed up the cafeteria so the elementary students are surprised. Besides being a great cook, supervisor, and leader Deb also is very particular in her State reporting. She manages to complete her cafeteria work and state reporting all in a timely manner. We would be lost without her! I encourage you to talk or even come see Deb in action and I know you would vote for her too.
Food Service Secretary
J. Sterling Morton High School
5801 W. Cermak Rd., Cicero, IL 60804
Susan has been the Food Service Secretary for this District for 10 years or more.
Susan coordinates the Lunch Application process during the schools registration process every year. This district has approximately 8000 students and she processes all of the applications for the students. She also handles all of ISBE's monthly reporting, such as claims, verification etc. among other daily processes. Susan doesn't interact with students on a daily basis, however she is the one behind the scenes making sure lunch codes are correct for students who eat on a daily basis. She also handles all parent interactions concerning NSLP questions. She coordinates with the Food Service Managers at each of the 4 buildings in this district. These processes are important and are sometimes overlooked, when appreciation is due.
Food Service Director
Dunlap Grade School
Dunlap CUSD #323
616 W Brookforest Dr. Peoria, IL 61615
Lisa Wetzel started as a 2.5 hour cook who on her first day at work came in all dressed up, bangles on her wrists, hair all done up thinking it was social time. I was a Head Cook at the time and thought to myself who is this person and she'll never last. Well, 16 years later she's still here. I promoted her to Head Cook 3 years ago, the person who thought she would never make it. Just goes to show you never judge a book by it's cover. Last week her school won our first Health Department "Food Safety Excellence Award".
Lisa, is one of those Head cooks you wish you had 50 more just like her. With this being her 3rd year as a Head Cook Lisa found out quickly this job was much more than just cooking and serving out food. Her first year as a Head Cook she found out 3 months in her school was chosen to be audited. As a director you would think I would have been nervous but I had total confidence in her overall food regulations knowledge. Lisa, who is a hard worker, great personality, always professional, very detailed orienated, a never give up additude. She is always ready to try new recipes and even conquered cooking whole grain pasta after many tries. Lisa loves her students and staff and not afraid try anything to get her students to eat lunch even if it means both her and her assistant, Kathy Holtman make fun of themselves by wearing silly outfits. Lisa has grown leaps and bounds and I cant thank her enough for all the hard work and dedication she has given to our district and her students at Dunlap Grade School.
Sylvia J Polletta
CEO / SVP
Lunch Program Supervisor
Cambridge Lakes Charter School
900 Wester Blvd., Pingree Grove, IL 60140
Sabine joined us when our program was a fledgling program. She had multiple years of background from working with other school districts. A lunch program is a critical function of a school, and Sabine was not afraid of the challenge of our environment when she joined us. We were moving from a cold lunch option only to offering a hot lunch as well. We didn't have a true cafeteria that you'd find in many other schools. We had an approved area with basic, old equipment. She stepped in and little by little offered improvements to our program. This awkward beginning hasn't deterred her and today she runs a thriving lunch program and oversees two additional lunch staff members to keep it running smoothly.
Sabine fully steps into the role, continues her necessary certifications, keeps the Admin Team informed of current rules and regulations, and most importantly builds incredible rapport with the students. She knows who needs a few encouraging words, who needs an extra hand and knows the names of the students going through the lunch line. She has built a solid relationship with our educational partner - District 300 and their staff. She has taken our program from a bare bones basic program, to a program enhanced by technology. She researched, called contacts and brought forward an option for Administration to review. She's moved through the training and implementation of the software program and we hope to launch it this month. As our school has grown, we were able to build a small, updated area for the lunch program that was also outfitted with new equipment. Sabine was implemental in helping design the area and work with the Kane County Health Department so it would meet all regulations. She has also built relationships with our meal provider, Preferred Meals, as well as our milk man from Schuring. Outside of running our lunch program, Sabine always has a smile and often volunteers in other areas around the school. She's volunteered to fill in for our Executive Assistants, come in on weekends to help run an event, opens the kitchen area and serves during special events, and has stood outside at times, in bad weather, to assist with our traffic drop off and pick up lines. She's not someone who comes in to do "her job" and leave. She's an involved and vested person in the school overall. Sabine and I were able to attend the Back To School conference last August. She didn't hesitate when I asked her to attend, even though it meant an overnight trip away from her family. She acknowledge that it is difficult to be away from her children, but the school is a type of family as well. She thought the opportunity to learn, network and put ISBE staff faces to names would have great value to our program. She helped me understand additional components of the lunch program. We were able to spilt up to attend the many different sessions and then review our notes and what we learned. I'm not near the maximum allowed words, but Sabine is not someone who looks for accolades or a pat on the back. Listing all the ways that Sabine is involved here at Cambridge Lakes Charter School has really, quite simply, reminded me how much I appreciate her and all she does to support the program and school.
Assistant Superintendent of Finance & Operations/CSBO
Director of Food & Nutrition Services
Districtwide at Marquardt School District 15
Marquardt School District 15
1912 Glen Ellyn Road, Glendale Heights, IL 60139
Sandy Voss has been the Director of Food and Nutrition Services in Marquardt District 15 since 2008. She also directs the nutrition programs in Glen Ellyn District 41, Queen Bee District 16, and St. Matthew School. The schools she represents participate in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, After School Snack Program, and the Seamless Summer Option Program. Her role as the Director of Food & Nutrition Services requires her to coordinate over 4,000 lunches, 2,000 breakfasts, and 200 afterschool snacks daily. Mrs. Voss is a member of our District Wellness Committee that reviews our district programs and policies to encourage healthy lifestyles in our students. She is also the Bid Advisor for the Northern Illinois Purchasing Cooperative, which procures food and non-food supplies for over 70 school districts in Illinois, with a total bid amount of 22 million dollars. Mrs. Voss is a Registered Dietitian and a credentialed School Nutrition Specialist She completed her studies at Illinois State University and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences. She has assumed leadership roles for the Illinois School Nutrition Association (ILSNA), serving as President as well as sitting on various committees as committee chair and committee member. In addition to ILSNA, she has served on multiple committees for the School Nutrition Association (SNA).
Sandy Voss goes above and beyond her role as Director of Food and Nutrition, and she does so in some unique ways. For example, she started a Young Chefs Club to teach middle school students cooking skills in order to plan and prepare healthy meals. This popular club has given students multiple opportunities to share their knowledge and skills at District events. Just this year, our Young Chefs were able to show off their skills at our Performing Arts Center grand opening and the charitable 50 Men Who Cook/Divas Who Dish community event to raise funds for our schools. Mrs. Voss has hosted Young Chefs competitions, where students create and assemble their own recipes to be sampled and voted on by students, parents, and staff members. The winning recipe is included on the middle school lunch menu the following school year. Last year’s winning fruit salad recipe is now the top selling salad at the middle school. Another way Mrs. Voss has involved students in promoting nutrition and healthy lifestyles is through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program (FUTP60). FUTP60 encourages students to be leaders in promoting active and nutritious lifestyles within their school and community. Through FUTP60, Mrs. Voss has worked with our students to earn breakfasts, afterschool snacks, and intramural equipment for our middle school. She also directs the Blessings in a Backpack program to provide supplemental food for our elementary students over the weekend. This program gives our middle school students, staff members, and outside volunteer groups a weekly volunteer opportunity by packing food. Because Mrs. Voss values the opinions of our students, she holds taste testings every spring to give students input on the following school year menu. She believes students who have a voice in the menu decision-making process will be more inclined to choose those healthy options during the school year, while encouraging others to do the same. In addition to other special events Mrs. Voss assists with, our District’s Superintendent invites every 8th grader to lunch in a group setting to get feedback on their middle school experience. Mrs. Voss coordinates a menu that demonstrates to these students that they are attending a special event. Each month, she also supplies treats for our Board Members in appreciation for the time they give to serve our District. Mrs. Voss’ work is not done when school dismisses for summer. She helps facilitate the Northern Illinois Food Bank Summer Backpack Program to feed local families during these months. These are just a few examples of the positive impact on our students and families that Mrs. Voss has in our District. Sandy Voss understands how nutrition supports student learning and growth. She continually works to improve her knowledge in the area of school nutrition and collaborates well with staff to achieve common goals. For all that she does, we feel fortunate to have her as a staff member at Marquardt District 15.
District Head Cook
Palestine Grade School
Community Unit School District Number 3
205 S. Washington St. Palestine, IL 62451
Melissa started out as a cook for our district in 2006. After six years, her hard work paid off and she was promoted to District Head Cook. In 2017, she was awarded the "Top Tomato" award by the Illinois School Nutrition Association.
Melissa is very dedicated to her job. She strives to follow all state guidelines while still offering our students fun and nutritious meals. Her excitement in the kitchen carries over to the students, increasing their willingness to try new foods. The following are some examples of how she has went above and beyond: providing fruit infused water to junior high students, roasting vegetables vs. serving raw (this was really a hit!), selecting a student taste testing panel to help create new menu items based on student preference, and celebrating National School Lunch and Breakfast week with fun events for students. Also, I can not forget to mention her wonderful kitchen staff that help put her plans into action!
Director of Food Services
Ridgeview CUSD #19
Ridgeview CUSD #19
300 S Harrison, Colfax, IL 61728
Carolyn came to Ridgeview on July 1, 2015 from Aramark Food Service where she was a menu specialist. Carolyn has a BA from Eastern Illinois University. Carolyn applied for the Equipment Grant and was awarded $44,000 to upgrade the kitchen. She has built a better kitchen as well as an amazing team that works in the kitchen!
Carolyn Jent is the Director of Food Services at Ridgeview and is a true Champion. Carolyn thinks creatively to meet the nutrition guidelines while providing great tasting meals for students and staff. The lunches are colorful and pleasing the eye. Carolyn is creative in planning "fun" days celebrating the students birthdays and holidays. She thinks outside the box to come up with solutions to challenges or to find ways to serve something quicker or more efficiently. Somehow she is able to convince kids to try new foods, even parents comment on this achievement. Carolyn shows the students she really cares about hem by interacting with them daily, she knows them by name and learns what is important to them so she can ask about their sport, their pet, etc. Because of her concern for her kitchen staff, her quick smile, and her positive attitude, she has built a team that works like a fine oiled machine. We have seen the number of students eating breakfast and lunch skyrocket since Carolyn has become our food service director. Carolyn makes beautiful monthly menus that we proudly display. Staff members are excited to eat lunch and more than one substitute teacher has asked if they can eat here on days they don't work! As you can see we have many reasons to nominate Carolyn Jent for the School Nutrition Champion Award! Thank you for your consideration of our submission!
Director Of Operations
ACERO Charter Schools, INC
209 W Jackson BLVD Chicago Il 60606
Nubia Sanchez has been a part of ACERO Charter schools since August 29, 2015. Throughout her career at ACERO, Nubia has held positions both at the school and network level. Beginning as an office coordinator, she has grown professionally within the network and currently serves as the ACERO Compliance Manager- a position she has held for nearly two years- which includes oversight of the network’s food service program. Although food service only accounts for a portion of her responsibilities, Nubia ensures the program is given all the attention necessary to run successfully. Through Nubia’s leadership of the program, the Marquez Campus won the “Meal of the Month” contest for their creative take on Oktoberfest. She is currently working with the campus to facilitate activities with Kindergarten and First graders that promotes healthy eating.
Because of her experience both at the school and network level, Nubia Sanchez is able to deliver a food service program that not only meets state requirements, but also accommodates school and community needs. Nubia goes above and beyond her responsibilities with the food service program by ensuring schools have a voice regarding the program, putting systems in place to ensure quality and compliance, and actively monitoring meal participation rates. When school personnel raised concerns about the food being offered to students, Nubia made it a point to set meetings so they can voice their opinions. Through her meetings, Nubia was able to make some modifications to the meal program in order to offer students healthier options. Nubia stays connected with school feedback and choice to ensure the school program fits the needs. As the compliance manager, Nubia works to safeguard that systems are followed diligently and with fidelity. When creating an internal audit system for network compliance, food service items were included to provide routine checks of auditable items. Upon inspections, Nubia works with schools as a partner in their success rather than catching them in their mistakes. She makes herself available to school leadership to discuss best practices or make suggestions on how to improve the program. Nubia actively monitors food participation at each campus. She is genuinely concerned that students at ACERO are being provided with a healthy meal and are participating in the program. If she notices a slight decrease in participation, she is sure to ask if anyone has insight as to what is happening and why they believe students aren’t participating as frequently as before. She identifies the root of the problem and seeks solutions. Because of Nubia Sanchez’s hard work and leadership, school nutrition is something our network and families are able to take pride in.
SN worker II
Bloomingtin Jr. High School
9329 North 3975 East Rd. Seybrook, Il. 61770
Before coming to District 87, Becky worked for four years at A. Vito Martinez middle school in Romeoville, Il. She worked in various positions throughout the cafeteria. She has been sanitation certified for the last 16 years. She is/was a devoted employee determined to better herself in any position she would be placed in. She has been currently employed at District 87 for 14 years at which time she was hired as an assistant cook and soon moved into position as head cook.
Becky's main objective is to feed students well balanced appealing meals. She takes pride in her position. She constantly interacts with students to get their feed back on products that we serve. She often comes up with innovated and creative ideas that appeal to their ever changing pallets. She's accurate and precise in portion control. She takes her job personally and knows that it is a reflection upon her as well as other staff members. She offers new ideas and ways to introduce a new product. She takes extra effort and time from her personal life to contribute to our feeding programs. Daily she prepares 1000 plus meals and ensures that the last child's meal looks and tastes as fresh as the first students. She shows ongoing initiative, leadership and dedication. She has earned the respect of her peers and has become a role model in her field. She is committed, enthusiastic, and constantly going above and beyond.
Greenfield Elementary School
Greenfield Community Unit School District 10
115 Prairie St. , Greenfield, IL 62044
Head Cook - Greenfield CUSD 10 - 4 years, Wellness Committee - 4 years, Fuel Up to Play 60 Grant Commitee - 4 years, Successful restauraunt owner in Greenfield, IL
Kathleen is an excellent planner, cook, and kitchen manager that "goes the extra mile each day" at Greenfield CUSD #10 to make the cafeteria one of the best in the area. Kathleen works to make water and fruit accessible all day for our students. Kathleen strives to offer new and exciting meals for students as often as possible. Kathleen led the charge for our school to apply for the Fuel Up to Play 60 grant, so she could purchase a new glass front refrigerator in order to showcase and offer special fruit drinks, milk products like cheese, and healthy choices for students. The cafeteria is now a friendly and welcoming environment for all students, parents, and staff members. Her "Walking Taco" meal is a school-wide favorite. School lunch numbers consistently increase each year with her excellent service.
Corpus Christi Catholic School
Peoria Diocese; but school falls in District 87 boundaries
1909 E. Lincoln St., Bloomington, IL 61701
Kris has been with our school for 17 years, and has been the kitchen coordinator/kitchen supervisor/kitchen manager for the last 15 of those years. She does all the coordination of menus, ordering, cooking, etc.
Kris and her staff go above and beyond each and every day. Kris makes a point of welcoming each student as they come through the lunch line, she helps coordinate our lunchroom volunteers, and strives to truly develop a personal relationship with our students. The kids all know Miss Kris, and they appreciate that she knows them! Kris took on the management of the school lunch nutrition program and does a phenomenal job of being a good steward of our school resources as well as the resources available through the state to ensure that our students have well balanced lunches that have a "home-made" touch. Beyond these things, our school made the commitment to go "peanut free" in our kitchen many years ago - in doing such, Kris ensures that for our students that may have life-threatening nut allergies, our school food is always safe. She has also coordinated with parents directly to cover any special dietary needs that may be present (ie. milk/dairy intolerance; diabetes). Kris cares about our school, and she cares about our students - and that is evident every day!
Charlotte A. Montgomery
Chief School Business Official
Chief School Business Official
6 School in the District
Ball Chatham CUSD #5
201 W. Mulberry Street
Martel has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Eastern Illinois University, a Major in Home Economics, emphasis in Foods and Nutrition in Business, and a Minor in Business Administration, and Master’s Degree from EIU, Major in Family and Consumer Science, emphasis in Nutrition. Martel worked at ISBE 10 years as the principal Consultant for the School Nutrition Programs where he developed and delivered training and educational programs for school food service and administrative staff. He currently serves as the Director of Food Service for the Ball Chatham CUSD #5 which encompases six schools with a student population of over 4,800.
Ball Chatham CUSD #5 unsuccessfully launched a Gen H scratch cooking program in 2014 in order to provide healthy eating options for students. The program was not well received by cafeteria workers or students and lunch participation dropped significantly. Administration recognized they needed not only a full time director who was well educated in nutrition, but the right leader who could train resistant staff in nutritional cooking and adapt the meals being served to student’s tastes. Mr. Martel was able to find the right mix of nutrition and taste for students, and over the course of a few months, participation had increased 11,000 meals over the previous year. Mr. Martel also successful launched an offer vs. serve program whereby elementary students could choose what they wanted to eat thus cutting waste substantially. Mr. Martel’s blend of leadership, nutrition education, and gentle demeanor have all been instrumental in improving the work environment and creating nutritional meals that appeal to the current student’s tastes.
Director of Food Service
Chatham Elementary School
Ball Chatham School District
525 S College St, Chatham, IL 62629
Dawnal has been with Ball Chatham School District for 27 years, and serves as Chatham Elementary's cafeteria manager.
Dawnal Mahan and her team take pride in everything they do in the cafeteria. Dawnal and her cafeteria staff are involved in all aspects of food prep and cafeteria supervision. On any given day you can see Dawnal and her team out visiting with students in between services and preparation times. This year Dawnal and her team took on many new challenges. Prior to the 2017-2018 school year, Chatham Elementary was not an Offer vs Serve (OVS) school. Dawnal and her team jumped in and took the challenge head on and worked together to discuss, plan, and troubleshoot prior to full implementation of OVS so that it would go smoothly for staff and especially students. Dawnal, as a part of the OVS change, also worked with her team to implement mini-veggie bars in her cafeterias to allow students more selections of fresh vegetables. This helped to ensure students would have access to more fresh vegetables on a daily basis, and would increase the chance of students having access to a vegetable they like on an everyday basis. Since the 2013-2014 school year Dawnal has seen a steady increase in her participation without any increase in her enrollment. She is on pace this year to serve an estimated 5000 more meals this year than 2013-2014, and approximately 1700 more meals than last year. Dawnal and her staff have been handling these increases over the past few years without any increase in staff or available hours. At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year Dawnal was given the challenge of cutting and/or managing costs. With the implementation of OVS, controlling for portion sizes, effectively using production records and other menu planning materials, and reworking staff meal options, Dawnal has decreased the amount of money spent on foods approximately $6000 compared to the same time last year, and decreased her spending on non-food supplies approximately $1000 when compared to the same time last year. Finally, Dawnal and her team truly are a family. Dawnal is a Chatham resident and loves the job and loves her staff. She makes her kitchen and cafeteria feel like a home away from home for her staff and anyone else that pays her a visit.
Director of Food Service
217-483-2424 Ext 2301
Glenwood Intermediate School
Ball Chatham School District
465 Chatham Rd, Chatham, IL
Nancy McCord has been with Ball Chatham School District for 25 years and currently serves as the cafeteria manager at Glenwood Intermediate School.
A nomination for Nancy McCord is truly a nomination her AND her entire staff. The level of expectations Nancy has for her staff and the training she has put her staff through ensures everyone is on the same page with what needs to be done on a day to day basis. She has created a strong team environment so that staff feel empowered to do the right thing and make the choices that are best for the students they are serving. This teamwork environment lends itself well to having staff that feel comfortable openly sharing ideas and contributing in impactful ways everyday. Evidence of how well Nancy and her team work together is how they have handled the increase in participation this school year. Her cafeteria is on pace to serve close to 3500 more meals this year than last year. Nancy and her staff have been working together to find foods the students want and will eat which is key to the increase this year, and the past few years. Nancy and her staff have handled this years and other years increases without any additional staff or additional labor hours. Finally, Nancy is a great communicator. She communicates with the Director of Food Service on a daily basis. She takes pride in her job and views what is going on in her cafeteria as a reflection of herself and her staff. She lets the Director know her concerns, what is working and what isn't, and most importantly she is confident and comfortable sharing ideas she believes will help to continue to improve her participation, her staff skills and abilities, and her cafeteria in general.
Director of Special Education
Director of Food and Nutrition Services
Berkeley SD 87
Berkeley SD 87
1200 N Wolf Rd
Marcus has worked for our district for Berkeley School District 87 since 2015. He earned his Bachelors in Hospitality from Western University. Previously he worked in Evanston, Chicago, and Downers Grove as a Sodexo Food Service Director for K-12 schools. Some of his achievements are listed below: - Implemented after-school dinner program, which generated over 35,000 meals resulting in $135K in additional revenue - Carried out first internship & mentoring program at the school district. - Rolled out the first Fresh Fruit Vegetable Grant, Equipment Grant, & Backpack Program - Executed first Health and Wellness Fair for the school district - Implementation Community Eligibility Provision - Developed new teacher lunch program & online ordering system - Partnered with Culinary Arts Program to cook teachers lunches as a weekly special - Created a new Food Truck concept for the high school, creating a new exciting concept for students. - Help designed coffee shop for high school students
Marcus is Champ because he has had an amazing vision for redesigning our food service department. In fact, the name even changed from food service to nutrition services. He has brought wellness and nutrition to our schools in such a way the students and staff don't even realize how much better and healthier their choices are now because he has made them so appealing! Marcus also has worked with vendors and members of our community to add variety and options to our menu. You should see the students when they are involved in taste tests for new menu items! They have the ownership of their wellness and nutrition- and this is what we want to instill in our youth! Our breakfast and lunch programs are warm, welcoming environments with enticing menus for our schools! He has also created an amazing work environment for all the staff who support students in the food and nutritional services department.
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