Three School Nutrition Professionals Acknowledged for Extraordinary Achievements at ANC 2011



Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner  


Three School Nutrition Professionals Acknowledged for Extraordinary Achievements at ANC 2011  


NASHVILLE, TN (July 10, 2011) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognized three of its own today at the 65th Annual National Conference, in Nashville, TN. In addition to state and regional award winners, three SNA members received national recognition for their superior accomplishments in the school nutrition arena.

The National Louise Sublette Award of Excellence was awarded to Gara Sanborn, School Nutrition Manager, Coastal Ridge Elementary School, York, Maine. Sanborn was recognized for her successful efforts to increase participation in the school breakfast program. Sanborn invited three-time Olympic Speed Skater Caroline Hallisey Kepka to her school to speak with the students about the importance of starting their day with a healthy breakfast. Sanborn also spearheaded two contests to get kids excited about trying school breakfast. One contest allowed students to compete for the chance to prepare a special school breakfast of yogurt parfaits and sandwiches. Sanborn also worked with her kitchen staff to create a new cereal using homemade granola with raisins, dried cranberries, and dried blueberries. Students were then able to enter their own designs for the “cereal box.” Participation in the school breakfast increased 62% after her school hosted these events. Sanborn’s passion and dedication to her school nutrition program is certainly evident in her award winning project.

The 2011 National Outstanding Director of the Year is Lyman Graham, Director, Roswell Independent School District, Carlsbad Municipal Schools and Dexter Consolidated Schools, New Mexico. With 20 years of experience as a school nutrition director, Graham oversees three school districts with a combined 38 schools and 16,500 students in rural New Mexico. Graham’s efforts to improve food quality, add salad bars and implement breakfast in the classroom programs helped him raise student participation in one of his district’s school meal programs from 35% to 95%; in another, he grew participation from 15% to 97%. Graham has also added after-school snack and summer feeding programs to his districts, providing students with access to high quality, low cost food all year. Graham’s efforts to promote school nutrition programs expand beyond the districts he operates. Recognizing his success in developing breakfast in the classroom programs, state administrators asked Graham to conduct presentations on the program to districts across the state. In 1999, Graham was recognized by Dexter Consolidated Schools as Educator of the Year for his efforts to promote a positive school climate and increase student achievement. Graham has served as President of the New Mexico School Nutrition Association and has sat on a number of SNA committees, including the Public Policy and Legislative Committee and the Professional Standards Taskforce. Graham most recently served on a National Academy of Sciences Panel on a potential Provision 4 income eligibility category.

This year’s Heart of the Program Award goes to Shelia Garmon, Assistant, Factory Shoals Elementary School, Douglas County School District, Georgia. Garmon is known for her “infectious smile, kindness, willingness to help, good nature, and happy spirit.” Garmon makes sure she is always there to help anytime someone needs assistance. She is always willing to take on extra responsibilities to ensure the school kitchen runs smoothly and efficiently. Seeing a need to increase student vegetable and fruit consumption, Garmon challenged students to try new items during class. Garmon is creative and constantly seeking ways to make her school cafeteria a more welcoming environment. She reviews recipes and makes suggestions to improve the quality or nutritional content of the offerings, and uses her creativity to improve the visual presentation of the food. Throughout the year, Garmon decorates the cafeteria with seasonal and special event décor, making the cafeteria a friendly environment. Garmon’s supervisor writes that her “cheery attitude is what makes her a winner.” It also makes her the “Heart of the Program.”

SNA, ( the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 53,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. Founded in 1946, the Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals.


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