Contact: Alexis Steines
(703) 739-3900, ext. 175
LAS VEGAS (June 29, 2009) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognized three of its own today at the 63rd Annual National Conference, in Las Vegas, Nev. In addition to state and regional award winners, three SNA members received national recognition on Monday, June 29, 2009 for their superior accomplishments in the school nutrition arena.
The National Louise Sublette Award of Excellence was awarded to Adrienne Gooley, cafeteria manager at Valley View Elementary School in Columbia Heights, Minn. Gooley was recognized for increasing the number of families that completed free and reduced price meal applications by the October 1, 2008 deadline. The previous year’s free and reduced price benefits are only applied to students until October 1st. After that date, many qualified children were eliminated from the program and subjected to receiving only a peanut butter or cheese sandwich and milk. Recognizing that many eligible families do not turn in the necessary forms to continue receiving free and reduced price meals, Gooley developed a campaign to enroll 80 percent more families than the previous year. Sensitive to the needs of her ethnically diverse community, Gooley oversaw the creation of a letter in three languages that explained the importance of filling out a free and reduced price meals application each year. She also hired a Spanish interpreter to help at the annual school open house. Gooley has truly made it a point to ensure that “Hunger ends on our watch.”
The 2009 National Outstanding Director of the Year is Wanda Grant, School Nutrition Director for Palm Springs Unified School District in California. An SNA member for 34 years, Grant has had a dynamic school nutrition career. When she first arrived in the Palm Springs Unified School District, only 54% of students participated in the school nutrition programs, while 80% of students qualified for free and reduced price meals. As director, program participation has risen to 92%. Grant successfully applied for a $1.5 million dollar grant to start a school breakfast program in her district, which has helped her achieve 55% participation in the program. She has engaged students in learning about good nutrition by sponsoring Nutrition Advisory Councils (NAC) in several district schools. Grant was a pioneer in coordinating school health programs in her community. In 1997, she started a Coordinated School Health Committee, which would later known as the Wellness Committee. Through this committee, Grant ensured that students would learn the multiple components of healthy living. Grant is dedicated to strengthening the school nutrition profession, leading and developing many professional development and customer service classes. She also partners with three universities to run a dietetic internship program, encouraging future nutrition professionals to consider the school nutrition field. Grant’s career has spanned three states, where she has served the School Nutrition Association on the local, state, and national levels.
This year’s Heart of the Program Award goes to Debbie Pridemore, a school nutrition employee at Rosedale Elementary School in Fayette County, W.V. Pridemore is recognized by her colleagues as “an outstanding person with
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