SNA Honors School Cafeteria Professionals with Heart of the Program Award and School Nutrition Employee Week, May 7-11



Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner  


SNA Honors School Cafeteria Professionals with Heart of the Program Award and School Nutrition Employee Week, May 7-11  



NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (May 2, 2012) - Preparing healthy school meals, teaching good nutrition habits, and offering a friendly greeting are all in a day’s work for Kathie Sardeson and fellow professionals working in school cafeterias across the country.  The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) celebrates this professional commitment through School Nutrition Employee Week (May 7-11) and the Heart of the Program Award, which is being awarded to Ms. Sardeson of Lassen View Elementary in Redding, California.

School Nutrition Employee Week is a great time for parents, students, school staff and communities to thank those who serve more than 32 million children each school day.  These professionals juggle many responsibilities each day - from meeting complex nutrition standards to following strict food safety requirements and making the school cafeteria a fun and welcoming place.  But the women and men working in America’s school kitchens bring so much more to the table.  

Kathie Sardeson embodies the extraordinary commitment of school nutrition professionals to the students they serve.  She eagerly took on new tasks when her school began offering free breakfast for all students and launched a new mid-morning, healthy snack cart for students.  Kathie enjoys experimenting with new recipes that add nutrition, color and taste appeal to the menu.  Kids love her “Fear Factor Smoothie” made with fruit, yogurt and leafy greens, and she even convinced students to try Kale Chips during a recent “Harvest of the Month” taste test.  

As her boss Denise Ohm says, “Kathie is always going the extra mile for her students, staff, and school community.  Kathie is the “Heart of the Program” at Lassen View Elementary.”

This fall, Kathie and school nutrition professionals nationwide will take on a new responsibility as new federal nutrition standards for school meals come into effect.  These standards will require schools to serve more fruits and vegetables (including weekly servings of legumes, dark green and orange vegetables), switch to whole grains and limit the sodium, calories and saturated fat in each meal.  

School nutrition employees will help get students excited about trying healthier new foods and recipes.  To read other examples of school nutrition professionals who are making a difference, visit

As the 2012 Heart of the Program Award winner, Ms. Sardeson will be recognized at School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference, July 15 - 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. To find out more about today’s school meals, visit




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