Fresh Bites Spring Edition 2021

Fresh Bites Spring Edition 2021


2021 Committee Members

Building From the Ground Up 2021 Conference Information pages 24 & 25

New This Issue! Find the #NYSNANews image for a chance to win a prize!


Volume 70 Number 2 Published Quarterly



Get to Know Committee Members Starting on Page 29 Conference Info Keynote Speakers & More on Pages 24-25


2 5 9

Pilgrim’s Nardone Bros. Pizza American Dairy Association North East Global Food Solutions

Hear From Your Peers on the SNS Credential ReadTestimonials on Page 44. Get Cooking with Mohawk Valley! Watch theVideo on Page 14

28 33 39 45

Kellogg’s ES Foods Conagra


Officers & Headquarters


FreshBites A NYSNA PUBLICATION Ashleigh Roche, MBA Membership & Communications Coordinator





21 Executive Park Drive Clifton Park, NY 12065 (518) 446-9061

NYSNA Mission Statement

To be the informational and professional resource for all NYSNA members who provide school meals that contribute to the improvement of the optimal health, nutrition, and education of school children to reduce food insecurity.


www.NYSchoolNutr i t

2020-2021 Board of Directors

CENTRAL AREA Nique Wilson Food Service Director Wayne CSD

SOUTHEAST AREA Debra Donleavy Director of Food & Nutrition Services Enlarged CSD of Middletown 223 Wisner Avenue Middletown, NY 10940 (845) 774-6275

May 5

Fresh Bites Deadline (2021 Summer Issue)

6200 Ontario Center Road Ontario Center, NY 14520 (315) 524-1041 EASTERN AREA Katy Headwell, RD Director of Food Services Shenendehowa CSD 970 Route 146 Clifton Park, NY 12065 (518)881-0600 x68601 NEW YORK CITY AREA Nicole Bonica Training Developer NYC Central 44-46 Vernon Blvd Long Island City, NY 11101 NORTHEAST AREA Nicole Grandjean Manager St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES 320 Mechanic St Copenhagen, NY 13626 (315) 688-4034 SOUTHERN TIER AREA Patrick Walsh, SNS School Lunch Director Broome-Tioga BOCES

PRESIDENT Sue Bell Food Service Director Wilson Central School District 374 Lake Street Wilson, NY 14172 (716) 751-9341 x139

May 19

NYSNA 2021 Spring Fling Virtual

WESTERN AREA Tracie Middleton, SNS Food Service Director Bolivar-Richburg CSD 100 School Street Bolivar, NY 14715 (585) 928-2561 x2902 At Large Director Bryan McCoy Food Service Supervisor Broome-Tioga BOCES 1 North Loder Ave Endicott, NY 13760 (607) 763-1216 At Large Director Sarah Keen, RD Food Service Manager

July 10-12

SNA Annual National Conference, Chicago, IL

PRESIDENT ELECT Donna Riviello Food Service Director Clyde-Savannah CSD

215 Glasgow St Clyde, NY 14433 (315)902-3060

VICE PRESIDENT Caitlin Lazarski, MS, RD, SNS Food Service Director Newburgh City CSD 124 Grand Street Newburgh, NY 12550 (845) 863-3426 SECRETARY/TREASURER Joe Kilmer, MS. ED., SDBL Regional Director of Food Services Greater Southern Tier BOCES 950 Sing Sing Road Horseheads, NY 14845 (607) 739-6360

For more information contact our broker:

Schuylerville CSD 14 Spring Street

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At Large Director Megan Beck Food Service Director Guilderland CSD 8 School Road, PO Box 18 Guilderland Center, NY 12085 (518) 456-6200 At Large Director Craig Orvis, SNS Food Service Director St. Lawrence -Lewis BOCES

1 North Loder Ave Endicott, NY 13760 (607) 766-3926


Large selection!

SOUTH AREA NaimWalcott School Lunch Manager Westhampton Beach UFSD 29 Lilac Rd Westhampton Beach, NY 11978 (631) 288-3800x261

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Jennifer Martin, MBA, CAE NYSNA 21 Executive Park Drive Clifton Park, NY 12065 (518) 446-9061

40 West Main St. Canton, NY 13617 (315)785-3717

CN Labeled & USDA commodity approved.







President’s Message

President Elect’s Message



Happy Spring Everyone! It is hard to believe that we are closing in on the end of another school year. I am always amazed at how quickly time passes, but this year was lightning fast. I found myself, as I am sure many of you also found yourselves, scrambling from day to day just trying to get everything done. As I approach the end of what has arguably become my most challenging year, I am reflecting on the good things this school year seemed to bring about. First, in providing meals to students in a virtual mode, I was able to engage with the community like never before. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a community Facebook post that centered and focused around my school’s food service department and the food we were preparing and sending out to our students. I originally was a little frightened, expecting and preparing for the worst, but found just the opposite. My next steps were to engage with the page’s administrator and use it as a platform to engage the community in what they would like to see in their school meal programs. The collaboration has been such a positive and welcoming new aspect to my program. Please see pictures below and give it

As I write this article one thing keeps coming to mind, I wish I could meet with everyone in person so I would have a chance to hear what is happening with all of you. I am curious to know how all of you are faring, how your programs are doing, what creative new ideas you have come up with. I can tell you this, the Association is missing everyone but due to the professionalism of the headquarters staff, it is doing great. Jennifer, Alyssa and Ashleigh continue to think outside of the box and push each other to constantly improve on what has already been done. The upcoming year may hold many surprises for us but one thing we can count on is NYSNA offering us plenty of interesting content.

SUSAN BELL President

President Elect


In May we will be having our first NYSNA Virtual Spring Workshop. This will be filled with great speakers and up to date information.

a try. I have learned how parents perceive our meals; how they are using the ingredients to prepare meals at home; created contests with the community to create recipes that are then featured on the menu and prepared for the virtual students, etc. It has been a huge success and I find myself checking the page after each week’s delivery anxiously waiting to see what everyone thinks.

I hope you are enjoying the new digital format of our award winning Fresh Bites magazine. As a bonus we are offering a contest in each issue. Make sure you find “Ashleigh and Alyssa” and get your entries in to win great prizes. We are looking forward to seeing Fresh Bite articles submitted from all of you. We love to see what is happening in your districts and areas. Can you believe the incredible election slate? We are so fortunate to have so many members that are eager to begin their leadership journeys! I am so proud to see members from all over this state becoming involved in NYSNA. Through inclusivity, we will continue to grow as an Association.

I am so proud to see members from all over the state becoming involved in NYSNA. Through inclusivity, we will continue to grown as an association.

Although this year has looked very different from an Association view, we have still been very busy and active at NYSNA trying to find ways to keep everyone engaged and inspired. I thank the Universe every day that we have such a dynamic staff at headquarters constantly innovating and creating content and material to stay engaged with our members and industry partners. We are so fortunate to have this team of forward thinking, positive individuals. I look forward to working with them in the coming weeks on how we can engage our national leaders to take a stand for Universal Feeding when I attend the National School Nutrition Association’s annual Legislative Conference in its first ever, online platform. I look forward to engaging with our new representatives and showing them just how relevant and important school meals were throughout this pandemic. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy spring. I hope you are all planning your summer meals programs and anxiously awaiting some much-deserved time off. I cannot wait for the day we can all be together again. Until that time, stay healthy and safe.

Please reach out with any questions, concerns or suggestions that you may have.

I hope you enjoy a wonderful Spring!!

- Susan -

- Donna -

SUSAN BELL NYSNA President Susan Bell is the Food Service Director for Wilson Central School District, located in Wilson, NY! She has been in Child Nutrition for 22 years and loves school meals. Sue’s goal is to make the Association inclusive to everyone! NY is full of amazing Child Nutrition personnel and they can always turn to NYSNA for all of their School Nutrition needs.

DONNA RIVIELLO NYSNA President Elect Donna Riviello has been a school Food Service Director for the past 11 years currently employed through Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES and working with the Clyde Savannah and North Rose Wolcott Central School Districts. She has been a NYSNAmember for all of my eleven years and she looks forward to serving this organization for the next two years as the current President Elect and future President.







Vice President’s Message


Can you believe it’s been a whole year??

For a WHOLE YEAR we have been the most ESSENTIAL employees in our schools. We have been instrumental in providing both nutritious meals and a bit of normalcy for our kids in the most stressful and trying times. We rose to the challenges and rolled with the punches. We learned to wear many hats and to pivot with each change on a moment’s notice. We proved to everyone that we are resilient, strong and truly dedicated. I could not be prouder to be a leader of this amazing group of School Nutrition Professionals.


As we move forward into some version of normalcy, we cannot and should not forget that when school buildings closed in March, the essential nature of the work we do every day came to the forefront. Our children and our communities depend on the healthy meals we provide, and we should make every effort to have a seat at the table when decisions are made regarding our ability to provide them. “But I’m just a lunch lady/school food dude. No one will listen to me.” If this is your mindset, or the mindset of your staff/coworkers, it is time to change. You are a part of NYSNA, an association of School Nutrition PROFESSIONALS. Within our association, you have opportunities to share ideas and brainstorm, to continuously educate and improve yourself, and to come together as a unified voice for legislative action. There is no one better than you to speak to your local administrators, school boards, and State representatives about the work you do and the service your department provides to your community. I have participated in NYSNA’s Legislative Action Conference for the past several years and this year I will participate in SNA’s Virtual LAC for the first time. I feel fortunate to be able to represent my local community and the State of New York as we work together to advocate for appropriate funding and greater access to our child nutrition programs. If you have the chance to participate in one of these conferences you absolutely should, but these large-scale events are not our only opportunities to be advocates. Advocating for your students and programs starts at home. It can be a simple meeting with a building administrator to discuss breakfast in the classroom, or even a wellness partnership with your school PTA. Advocacy doesn’t have to be large scale and dramatic to be effective. Each of us has a story to tell about how food from our kitchens has helped a child in a time of need, especially now. If you don’t know where to start or need extra support in your corner, reach out to your fellow NYSNA members and leadership. I guarantee you will find the strength and support you need to accomplish great things!

- Caitlin -

CAITLIN LAZARSKI, MS, RD, SNS Caitlin Lazarski is the Director of School Nutrition for Newburgh Enlarged City School District, the district where she grew up and is currently raising her family. Caitlin is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Delaware. NYSNA Vice President







HEADQUARTERS Executive Director’s Message

Dear NYSNA Members, The snow is almost gone my friends and flowers and sunshine are just around the corner. Every spring issue I get excited to tell you about my work anniversary – and this is YEAR #7! It’s important for me to pause and think about this each year because it serves as a reminder that time flies when you are doing what you love to do. Thank you for being such amazing humans and putting some good into this world – I am proud to work with you. Speaking of amazing humans, in this issue you will get to “Meet” our outstanding committee members and learn a bit about them. We truly admire and appreciate their volunteerism, especially during the most chaotic and challenging year we have had. They have done incredible things for this association and we are lucky to have such passionate members that continue to stay so involved. It’s important for me to pause and think about this each year because it serves as a reminder that time flies when you are doing what you love to do. Thank you for being such amazing humans and putting some good into this world - I am proud to work with you. “

Universal Meals

The national School Nutrition Association has released their 2021 position paper and the first (and most important) item they are lobbying for is Universal Meals! This conversation has never been more important - and if there was EVER a year for this seemingly unattainable goal to happen it’s NOW! That being said, we know from our experience here in NY that to get what you want you have to have a big presence – and be relentless. This is a historic opportunity and in

NYSNA Executive Director


order to make it happen, your representatives need to hear from you! We need to meet with as many legislators as possible to make this happen. Be sure to advocate for your programs or no one will! Let’s not let this opportunity pass us by - LET’S MAKE SOME NOISE! Contact your representatives and push for universal meals. There are talking points available on the SNA website and you can always reach out to NYSNA and we can help you with your message as well. We did it in New York friends, and we made history in our state...TWICE! Now let’s take it to the next level.

I hope you are all enjoying the new digital magazine we have for you and all of the interactive features this platform offers. Be sure to share your amazing stories and successes with your peers and your family. These articles are simply amazing.

Strategic Plan

As we get closer to May the NYSNA Board of Directors will be gearing up to create a new 3-year strategic plan for your association. We will be reaching out for feedback to help us plan the best path and create goals to keep moving NYSNA forward. Thank you and GREAT JOB to all of the committee members over the past 3 years for knocking out our current plan. This association just keeps getting better and stronger. 2021 Conference I am excited about the 2021 conference this year and how our amazing committee was able to design a hybrid program to meet all of the members’ needs with this platform. WELL DONE to the 2021 Conference Committee led by Katy Headwell! What a special event because you have really created something for everyone. You guys are Rockstars and I am really looking forward to the fall.

As always, thank you for all that you do. - Jennifer -

NYSNA Wins Association Excellence Award in Meetings & Expos NYSNA has been recognized by the Empire State Society of Association Executives for their work on From the Show Floor. We were honored by our

ESSAE Award Video

peers during the Virtual Awards Ceremony on February 11th and want to share the clip with you.

Conference Video

JENNIFER MARTIN, MBA, CAE NYSNA Executive Director Jennifer has been in associationmanagement since 2011 and the Executive Director of NYSNA since 2014. Prior to working for NYSNA she was the Executive Director of the New York State Builders Association Research & Education Foundation. She is an expert in the areas of administration, iced coffee, and Harry Potter. Her keys to success can be summarized by the following phrases: “Work smarter, not harder;” “Be intentional;” “your attitude determines your altitude,” and she prides herself on being an amazing talent scout!








It’s time to plan your SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS!




April 1 National Burrito Day April 2 Hans Christian Anderson’s Birthday April 5 Booker T. Washington’s Birthday April 22 Earth Day National Autism Awareness Month

May 5 Cinco de Mayo May 7 School Lunch Hero Day May 9-15 National Police Week May 9 Mother’s Day May 12 National School Nurse Day May 21 Anniversary of the American Red Cross Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month National Strawberry Month

March 8-12 National School Breakfast Week March 9 National Meatball Day March 10 National Registered Dietitians Nutritionist Day March 17 St. Patrick’s Day Music In Our Schools Month National Ethnics Awareness Month National Nutrition Month Youth Art Month


Find this picture hidden in each issue.

Click on the picture and fill out this form.

The Game Video

Once your information is entered, you are entered in to a raffle to win a $25 gift card! March 31st is the deadline for the spring game!

National Grilled Cheese Month National Soy Foods Month National Stress Awareness Month


If you find the picture of Ashleigh and Alyssa in all 3 issues this year - spring, summer, & fall - you will be entered into a grand prize drawing to win a Free 2021 Conference Registration!!


Tips & Resources

As always, Ashleigh & Alyssa are here for YOU! Be sure to watch their weekly updates every Tuesday. Videos are on social media and on our website.

Here are some tips and resources to help you with navigating the website and annual membership dues renewals.

Adding Local Dues to an Invoice

Membership Renewal Season

Your Member Portal






Central Area COOKING WITH Mohawk Valley!

Eastern Area Directors Ref lect ON a Trying year


























School food service directors reflect on huge task to keep kids fed in trying year CONTRIBUTION BY KATY HEADWELL, RD, EASTERN AREA DIRECTOR As Featured on WNYT.COM* (BY ELAINE HUSTON & WNYT STAFF)

Need some quick and easy recipes to entertain our Kids at Home?

Check out for monthly videos with their Registered Dietitian Hayley Mielnicki for some amazing and interactive videos/live cooking classes!

“They are not first responders or those working on the frontlines, but during this pandemic, they’ve provided a vital service and helped maintain a sense of normalcy for thousands of school kids. Megan Beck of the Guilderland School District, Katherine Headwell of Shenendehowa, and Alissa Eiser of Bethlehem are the food service directors in their respective districts. For the past 10 months, they’ve been making sure our kids were fed. Now with the year almost over, they are not sure how they did it, but they’re glad they were of service to the community.”


(Copyright 2020 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company)

Cooking with Mohawk Valley


NIQUE WILSON, RD • Central Area Director Nique Wilson is the School Nutrition Director for Wayne CSD and has been in this profession for over 30 years. Nique has received the NYSNA Farm to School Partnership Award in 2018 & 2019 and continues to GROWWayne County’s farm to school program every day! She is even the creator of the GROW program which is the Gathering Regional Offering in Way County Schools!

KATY HEADWELL, RD • Eastern Area Director Katy Headwell is the Food Service Director at Shenendehowa Central Schools in Clifton Park, NY. She has been in her position for 9 years and loves being in school food service. She gets excited seeing students try new foods and working with great people. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and 2 dogs.







Northeast Area Community Food Heroes

Eastern Area



Eastern Area Feature Mechanicville hosts 1 st annual gingerbread house making contest








BY DEB MACKEY FOOD SERVICE DIRECTOR MECHANICVILLE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT I’ve done this event in my previous district and really wanted to do something interactive here at MCSD. With my district on a hybrid schedule I wasn’t sure if I could garner enough interest, but we had 11 teams that entered I had a panel of judges that included admin staff, faculty and even the editor of our local newspaper. Each entry was judged on originality, appearance and technical difficulty. The judges did not know who make each entry as I only identified them by number.

As Featured By Garden Share (Submitted by Paula Jones) CONTRIBUTION BY NICOLE GRANDJEAN, NORTHEAST AREA DIRECTOR A huge shout out to Canton Central School District Cafeteria staff on their achievement of being named Community Food Hero, through GardenShare.

The winning team was 4th and 9th grade students with Mom as a support. 2nd place went to a team comprised of a kindergarten student, a 1st

GardenShare promotes a local food system that ensures food security for all of St. Lawrence County residents. They do this by connecting consumers and producers, removing barriers to access, and so much more. Over the last few months, GardenShare has been asking members of the St. Lawrence County community who they believed were their Community Food Heroes in 2020. Canton Central School cafeteria staff was one of those recognized as being a GardenShare Community Food Hero. Congratulations to all of those involved and keep up the great work. Please take a moment to watch the video in honor of our Community Food Heroes.

grader, and a 3rd grader. 3rd place went to a lone 10th grade student.

All of these entries were beyond amazing and I’m so looking forward to next year’s event!

Community Food Hero Video

team #8

Nicole Grandjean is a food service director for St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES. She was born and raised on the Tug Hill Plateau. After college Nicole worked in a long-term care facility as a dietetic technician. She then decided to take a job as a school food service director closer to her hometown. She has been in school food service for almost 8 years and has loved every moment of her journey! NICOLE GRANDJEAN • Northeast Area Director “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” - Maya Angeleo




Western Area New York food for thought



Southern Tier Area Rock on Cafe GOLDEN SPOON AWARD WINNERS!






















administrators or just someone off social media. A team sorts through the nominations each month to decide who our lucky winner will be. This is a great way to recognize the efforts of the dedicated staff and to show our appreciation of all their hard work. The recipients receive a certificate and the coveted “Golden Spoon.” So far it has been awarded to staff, managers, warehouse staff and entire districts. This pandemic has bought out the best in our staff and we wanted to highlight a few who go the extra mile for their students and staff. It is a pleasure to be part of the team who recognizes the efforts that are taking place in the Southern Tier. The photos below show all the winners so far.

Did You Know...

Things have been quiet in the Southern Tier, unless you count our amazing teams of dedicated food warriors that are going above and beyond, week in and week out for our students and communities. The Rock on Café has developed a way to recognize a few of our brightest stars. I would like to introduce “The Golden Spoon Award,” this is a way we are able to highlight individuals or teams who go the extra mile for their districts. Anyone who is associated with providing meals to our students, are able to be nominated. The nominations can come from anyone in our area, supervisors, director’s,

New York is the 2nd Largest Producer of Maple Syrup! 820,000 gallons were produced in 2019

New York is the 4th Largest Producer of Milk in the United States!

New York is the 2nd largest grower of apples in the United States! More than 25 varieties of apples

are grown across the state! In 2017, 1.3 billion pounds of apples were harvested in New York State!

TOP 10 AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS IN NEW YORK STATE: 1. Milk 2. Corn for Grain 3. Hay 4. Cattle and Calves 5. Apples 6. Floriculture 7. Cabbage 8. Sweet Corn 9 Potatoes 10. Tomatoes

New York is the #1 Producer of Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, and Sour Cream!

PATRICK WALSH, SNS • Southern Tier Area Director

TRACIE MIDDLETON, SNS • Western Area Director

Patrick Walsh, SNS has been working in food service for over 20 years. Patrick is currently the School Lunch Director for Broome-Tioga BOCES. He started his career in school lunch 13 years ago. He has enjoyed learning and growing with the recent changes of the last several years. Patrick enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family as much as he can!

Tracie Middleton, SNS is the Food Service Director at Bolivar-Richburg Central School, she has been in child nutrition for 24 years! Tracie loves what she does and is currently the Vice-President of Allegany- Cattaraugus SNA along with service on the NYSNA board of directors. She is honored to work with so many dedicated individuals to serve our students each and every day.







Western Area

Western Area



Western Area Feature

Western Area Feature

BY MARY LOU GROFF PUBLICITY CHAIR Here’s what’s happening in erie county

Wehavereachedthemid-way point of the school year and in Erie County, many activities are kept on hold or postponed due to

the 20-21 school year, we have foregone any expenses. No scholarships have been awarded for the 20-21 school year. We will be planning our budget for the 2021-2022 year to include virtual conference attendance and scholarships to the 2022 graduates. Plans are in motion for virtual Continuing Education Credits. Erie County Executive Board members are also

the Covid-19 Pandemic! Even though we just had ground hog day and we feel we are living it every day. This has not stopped districts from providing nutritious


meals to our students. Meals are being provided either socially distanced to students, meals

researching ways to fund raise in a virtual world. The executive board also noted our current membership will be extended through March 31, 2022, while we seek new membership to grow our association. Food Service personnel continue to share their time and talents beyond


We will get through this and our hope is to stay healthy, learn and grow from this experience.

delivered to satellite sites, bagged meal drop off or picked up. School Meals continue to be the constant in students lives. Our students need school meals not only for their nutrition, but for their well-being. That friendly smile in the lunch line or at meal pick up means the world to the students and their families. We have learned to meet virtually by Zoom meetings, webinars, websites, and emails to try and flatten the curve of the pandemic. Erie County School Nutrition leaders recently met on Zoom to plan for the future and meet the needs of students and staff alike. Without revenue in

One Share was donated to the School of the Holy Childhood to support educational and career skills training for students with developmental challenges. The remaining two shares were awarded to winners selected by a random drawing of all tickets sold. Holly Bauer, Churchville Chili CSD (top left), and Julie Place, Webster CSD (top right) were selected as the two winners. They each were presented with $413 in cash during the week of December 14th at their work locations. What a great beginning for their holiday recess!

From October through Mid-December 2020 the Monroe County School Nutrition Association conducted their Tenth annual “Hundreds for the Holidays” chapter wide raffle. Over 1,600 tickets were sold at the schools throughout Monroe County. The proceedswere divided into four shares of $413 each One share was dedicated to the Chapter Scholarship Fund to support area high school seniors continuing their formal education following graduation in the related areas of Food Management, Culinary, Dietetics or Child Nutrition.

their work environment. Several members collected donations to Haven House at Christmas time to assist the organization that helps battered women and their family. While others assist local food pantries and other charitable organizations during this time of need. Erie County School Nutrition Association President, Ruth Conner said, “We will get through this and our hope is to stay healthy, learn and grow from this experience.”







Western Area

Western Area



Western Area Feature

Western Area Feature






It is with great sadness that the family of Steven George Small, 62 of Rochester, New York announce his passing, on Saturday December 19, 2020 at Strong Memorial Hospital. Steve was born on June 24, 1958 to his loving parents Clark and Florence Small (Trost) in Clarkson, New York to whom they raised three sons including Clark and Kenneth. Steve married the love of his life Michelle (Mead) on April 5, 1986. They have 4 children together: Andrew, Christopher, Nikki and Mike.

He received his Associates degree in food service, culinary arts, and food management from Alfred State in 1978. He went on to be an Associate Professor at Alfred State before owning his own family style restaurant called Dagwood’s in 1984. He went on to become the Director of Food Service throughout New York for over 34 years serving Andover, Wellsville, Jamestown, Olean, and Brockport school districts. Steve was a member of the New York School Nutrition Association, Monroe County Director’s for Food Service, and the National School Nutrition Association. He was an avid member of the Gamma Theta Gamma fraternity at Alfred State and was actively involved throughout the years. He was also a member of the Allen Park Men’s Club in Jamestown, New York. He was a devoted Yankees and Buffalo Bills fan as well as a passionate cook. Every weekend you could find him at the grill with his favorite Yankees or Bills hat or shirt on while enjoying his time with his family. Steve was a great family man. He was there for every one of his children’s athletic events and dance recitals. He would go out of his way to ensure he was at each event and even loved the games so much he got into coaching. He was predeceased by his parents, Clark and Florence, and his brother, Kenneth. He is survived by his wife Michelle (Mead), his brother and sister-in-law Clark and Dorinda (Hynes) and his 4 children and their spouses: LT Andrew and Dr. Heather (Roberts), Christopher, Nikki and Jon Kingsley, and Mike. Steve was a loving son-in-law to Avery and Jackie Mead (Vickers), and a loving brother-in-law to the families of Tim Mead, Dennis and Dianne Mead (Kelley), and Don and Marcy Sisson (Mead) as well as several nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.









Due to COVID, we will not be able to go to Turning Stone in October and have our traditional conference, so we have planned a new structure. Last year, NYSNA brought you From The Show Floor, which was an on-demand event that you could watch anytime, anywhere. And we know you loved it – so we are bringing you the best of both worlds; a hybrid of virtual and in-person! You guessed it, we are combining From the Show Floor with optional in-person exhibits! While you’re having access to this amazing on-demand platform all school year, we are also hosting three one-day food shows in different areas of the state . That’s right, we’re coming to you in Rochester, Saratoga, and Long Island! We didn’t forget about professional development and we have some amazing speakers lined up for you. And the best part, our speakers will also be available on-demand! This year, as a bonus we have not one but two keynote speakers! Attendees will be able to get up to eight CEU’s! We’re literally building from the ground up! We look forward to seeing you all at this year’s conference, either in-person or virtually – or both!

JOE GERSTANDT Inclusive Work Environment: Making it Real

CHEF JERNARD WELLS Bridging the Gap Between Food & Student: What I Cook Can Impact Your Life Jernard Wells is an Award Winning Celebrity Chef, Host of New Soul Kitchen on Cleo Tv and Co-host of best thing I Ever Ate on Cooking Channel, Bestselling Cookbook Author best known from numerous Food Network & Cooking Channel Shows.

Joe Gerstandt is changing the organizational diversity & inclusion paradigm and brings greater clarity, action and impact to this work. Joe grew up on a family farm in NW Iowa, served four years in the United States Marine Corps, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, attended Iowa State University and then spent 6 years working in management and business development for technology and communication companies. He then made a career change and went to work for a grassroots non-profit organization, and this is where he found himself drawn to issues related to diversity and inclusion and then became actively involved in that work. Today, Joe believes that we can all afford to continue applying a 20th century approach to an increasingly critical set of 21st century issues. A strong advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, joe sees diversity and inclusion as poorly understood and often misunderstood. His keynote messages and interactive workshops bring greater clarity, action, and impact to existing and new organizational diversity & inclusion efforts. Joe lives in Omaha, Nebraska (the middle of everywhere) with his patient, kind, patient, loving and patient wife, two daughters, a son, a dog, and a guinea pig.

Wells has worked with Tyler Perry, Lady Antebellum, NBA star Brandon Ingram,

Michael Bivens and Rickey Bell of New Edition to name a few.

Wells has been featured on “Today Show”, PEOPLE, “Steve Harvey Morning Show”, ESSENCE, “Pickler & Ben”, “Home & Family”, Lifetime, Daily Blast Live, CNN & HLN. The James Beard House Honored Chef is affectionately called “The Family Chef ” because he loves using food to promote positive family images. He and his wife of 20 years have 9 children and live in Atlanta.

Registration Released: Spring 2021 From The Show Floor – Launch: Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Learn more about Chef Jernard online:

Conference Video

One Day Regional Exhibits: Thursday, October 28 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Springs City Center

Wednesday, October 27 Rochester, NY DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Rochester

Wednesday, November 3 Melville, NY Hilton Long Island

Inclusion Diversity Authenticity

Check out Chef Jernard on the Today Show!

Find out what Joe Does:




I chose to participate on the conference committee to get more involved in the organization. I am a very new member to School Nutrition and wanted to take the opportunity that was present to me (thanks to Scott Z’s recommendation) to learn and network! Something random that most people don’t know about me: I was in the New York Army National Guard and drove an 18 wheeler amongst many other large military trucks.

I Joined the Conference Committee to build stronger relationships with other school nutrition professionals and experience how NYSNA works and the effort that goes into making their conferences so successful! Something random that most people don’t know about me: I lost 80lbs in high school. This experience inspired me to become a registered dietitian and lead me to the career and dream job I have right now!


JILL SWARTHOUT BOCES Midlakes & Red Jacket Districts

I chose to participate in the committee because I saw it as a great opportunity to apply my event knowledge to a great association while building my professional network. Fun fact: I love to snowboard during the winter months and enjoy traveling to new mountains every year.

I wanted to join the committee for a number of reasons!

From the newbie perspective, attending my first conference last October, it was rewarding, educational, and simply enjoyable to connect with other state directors. The breakout sessions were especially helpful in that the materials covered stayed on topic, were specific and to the point, and the session lengths were appropriate. If I can enhance the conference experience for a new director in anyway this is my objective. The other reason for joining the committee, is to further my knowledge of the NYSNA organization and engage with the members. Fun fact: My husband and I love to travel, have visited Hawaii 8 times, chartered a private sail with friends around the British Virgin Islands for a major birthday celebration, and up and down the eastern coast from P-Town, (Provincetown) to the Keys.


KATY HEADWELL, RD, CHAIR Shenendehowa CSD This is my 3rd time on a conference committee (now as the chair) and I have loved meeting new people and bringing meaningful professional development to my colleagues. Fun Fact: I love shopping! I have 3 closets full of clothes and shoes!

I accepted being on the NYSNA Conference Committee because I love working with directors from across the state to create an event for our industry! Fun fact: I was in a tourist bus that almost fell into a ditch a few feet away from a pride of lions.

CLAIRE GROUDINE, MS, RD, CDN Capital Region BOCES I chose to participate in the conference committee because I thought it would be a great networking opportunity. Also being relatively new to K12, I thought it would be a good way to learn and to meet different people in the industry. Fun Fact: I love music and going to concerts and festivals. I can’t wait for COVID to be over so we can start doing that again. I also love to eat and cook. My last meal would be cheese fondue, a crispy chicken cutlet, pizza, and a big green salad.

DEB DONLEAVY Enlarged City School District of Middletown I was invited to join the committee and have had no regrets. I look forward to planning the conference and communicating the fun things NYSNA can bring to the school lunch program. Fun fact: I am a backyard farmer – I have 24 hens and 3 beehives that houses about 400,000 bees.

JASON SHANKS Rich’s Products

As a large manufacturer in the school segment, I want to bring in support, encouragement, and to contribute to rebuilding and developing a new normal. Fun fact: I once traveled 3 hours to go to a Diners Drive-ins, and Dives location.






What do they do? Work with allied organizations on Farm to School initiatives and activities. Act in advisory capacity on relevant issues. Serve as the representative for National Farm to School Network and Northeast Regional Farm to School Network. Serve as the co-chair of the NYS Farm to School Coordinating Committee. Serve on the NY Food for NY Kids Coalition. Be responsible for publishing the Farm to School Partnership Award Information in a timely manner and judge submissions, and present awards to winners at the NYSNA Legislative Action Conference (LAC).


CHERYL BILINSKI Cornell Cooperative Extension

KATE DORR Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES

I love being a part of the farm to school committee having grown up on a farm in Upstate New York. I am passionate about being able to collaborate with those around the state to connect farms to schools so that students can enjoy local New York State foods! Fun Fact: Have figure skated for over 25 years and continue to coach skaters weekly!

I am incredibly passionate about farm to school. It’s a win-win for students, farmers, educators, child nutrition programs, and the greater community. Critical partners in that work are the dedicated child nutrition professionals across the State. I am amazed by all you do! I love being able to work with such professionals through this committee, sharing ideas & learning from one another. Fun fact: I have a bucket list of one: hike all 63 National Parks. I am humbled by their magnificence & challenged by their trails. I have 12 under my belt, so I need to get moving!

I joined the Farm to School committee because FTS is a way for us to reinvent school lunch. Each time we serve something local, new and different, we are shifting food culture to help kids & school communities feel more connected to where their food comes from. Something random that most people don’t know about me: I have been running for almost 25 years! I’ve run all sorts of races since starting Modified Cross Country in 1997 including a couple of marathons and a bunch of half marathons; I even ran two half ’s this past fall while pregnant with twins!

Having a strong Farm to School program benefits everyone in the community by connecting students, teachers, parents, farmers, and local businesses with our Child Nutrition programs. Joining the committee helps spread the word by collaborating with other passionate F2S colleagues to help others start or strengthen their F2S programs. Fun fact: November 1, 2021, is my 30th year anniversary in Child Nutrition!


Farm to School is the best part of my job. I love connecting students to our local farms by serving local produce. I serve on this committee to share ideas and find ways to support other NYS schools in growing their F2S programs.





COMMITTEES Farm to School


Farm to School Feature





oneida-herkimer-madison boces Since schools shifted to remote learning last March, the 15 School Districts in the OHM BOCES School Nutrition Program have been serving grab and go meals for pick up and delivery, in person meals delivered to classrooms, gyms, and other locations, and through traditional hot and cold service lines; if there is a method of meal service you can think of, we have done it! While all these different methods present numerous challenges, we are proud to continue to include New York State and locally grown foods and products in all our menus. We have simplified a lot of our meals, but we continue to track at about 30% our lunch food purchases from NYS sources. The list below (not necessarily in any order) are our “Top 10 Farm to School Pandemic Staples” These items have found a permanent home on our school meal menus-pandemic and beyond! Top 10 Farm to School Pandemic Staples

The Hamburg Central School District had several events going on throughout the school year. Here is a highlight of a few!

Farmers Market Stands: Every week throughout the season to continue outreach to families and farmers, sharing info on our Child Nutrition and Farm to School program.

Beacon City School District in lower Dutchess County re-opened to students this fall with a hybrid learning model. This meant serving students meals remotely, from one of their five pick-up locations or delivered to a students front door via the city school buses. Beacon City School District worked with their Farm to School partners (Common Ground Farm, Land to Learn and Fareground) to put together remote meal kits for students receiving meals outside of school. The Meal Kits included kitchen staples like a cutting board, a child safe knife, a vegetable peeler, a small container of olive oil and a binder to collect their farm to school recipes, all in a tote bag designed by a student. We also sent home bulk produce from the farm with a recipe that aligned with our usual Vegetable of the Month program. Our first month was October and families received recipes for Krazy Kale Chips and a Lemony Kale Salad along with kale from Common Ground Farm and local apples. The remote meals also include New York State milk from Hudson Valley fresh. Land to Learn and Common Ground Farm worked together to make a series of short YouTube videos that include a recipe demonstration and some fun facts about the featured vegetable from the farm. At the end of the month Beacon City School District sends home a very brief survey to parents who are signed up for remote meals to rate the recipe (on a scale of 1-5) or say if they didn’t make it. It’s been a big hit and has increased the number of students who were signed up for remote meals.

About a year ago the 15 Broome-Tioga BOCES school districts in the Southern Tier of New York pivoted to offer meals at home and then shifted to many different meal distributions in the fall. School continued to implement some farm to school efforts to support farmers and continue to provide fresh local food to students. With all the uncertainty and continual changes in school structure, there has been the opportunity to take a step back and regroup enabling the farm to efforts to better align for future years. Throughout the pandemic, schools have continued farm to school efforts by celebrating NY Thursdays twice a month with as much NYS products and food as they can. Additionally, schools have been sending home many NY Foods including Apples, Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Apple Cider, and Oats. Schools have also taken the opportunity to go above and beyond offering bulk local produce and gallons of NY Milk to families at remote meal pick up sites. Furthermore, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County and Food & Health Network were passionate about continuing education and put together grow kits for students to grow their own product at home over the summer. These were a huge hit as it provided a fun learning activity! As the Broome-Tioga BOCES Rock on Café schools look towards next year, they have collaborated Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County and Food & Health Network to align food procurement, education in the classroom, and promotions. This past school year, they introduced a fun and educational farm to school newsletter

Second Annual Junior Chef challenge: A culinary class teamed up with two local pizzeria owners (virtually) to create a pizza pie using NY ingredients.

1. Apples: whole and sliced! 2. Milk 3. String Cheese 4. Grape Juice and Grape Slushies

5. Hot Dogs 6. Meatballs

7. Sunshine Bars: local butternut puree 8. Yogurt: Stoltzfus or Chobani for us 9. Black Bean Brownies 10. And of course the vegetables Roasted Potatoes, maple carrots, coleslaw.... Honorable Mention: Miss Mila’s NY Chocolate Chip Cookies!

March Madness / National Nutrition Month: Five NY menus, one per week kicked off with friendly NY sauce making competition. Superintendent Mike Cornell and MS Cook Gene Govenettio led two teams of Culinary students in making their favorite pasta sauce to be served for lunch March 2nd and 6th. Local Tomatoes from 2020 season were processed and frozen for later use.

that has been shared broadly within the school districts, community, and on social media. There is also collaboration to kick off a farm to school videos series next fall and monthly nutrition education that aligns with what is being offered to students in the cafeteria.








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