When Just Getting to the Exam Location Was the Hardest Part of Passing the SNS

2017-05-12

SNA School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) Jeanne Brust

What Jeanne Brust Gained From Earning Her SNS Credential:

  • Improved credibility with school directors and officials
  • Opportunity to improve fundamentals and understanding of school nutrition programs
  • Provide better and more reliable training, service and information to school directors
  • Boosts self-esteem and pride in her career

The following is the fourth in a series of news stories highlighting SNA’s School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) Credentialing Program.

Neither delayed or canceled fights, recent foot surgery, or inability to get around without the assistance of a scooter stopped Jeanne Brust, M.Ed., SNS, from taking and eventually passing the School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) Credential exam.

“I had studied and studied and was supposed to take the exam in Washington D.C. but our flight got delayed out of Montgomery, Alabama,” recalled Brust, education administrator for Child Nutrition – School Programs at the Alabama State Department of Education. “We ended up spending the night in Charlotte, North Carolina and missed taking the test.”

The next opportunity that worked for her to take the exam was seven months later at SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in San Antonio, Texas, but new complications arose.

“I had surgery scheduled on my foot a week before ANC,” said Brust. “And when I was in San Antonio, I was not mobile, I had to get around in a little scooter. But I was determined, nothing was going to stop me taking the exam and earning an SNS, it was that important to me!”

Brust’s section at the Alabama State Department of Education is responsible for the training and assisting with administrative reviews of all the Child Nutrition Program School Programs under the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. That means she spends a lot of time reading, researching, and understanding USDA regulations; comparing them to state regulations in an effort to provide the best information and/or technical assistance to the local School Food Authority. That also means, the department may need to review and revamp existing training programs as well as consistently field questions from the directors.

“I have only been in child nutrition for three years and when you come into this profession there is so much to learn,” explained Brust. “So, when I found out about this SNS exam, I was interested right from the beginning because I realized that if I was able to pass that test, my credibility would rise in the eyes of the directors, the managers and with everyone who is involved with school nutrition. I would be recognized as having a good solid base of knowledge of what child nutrition is all about”

But as Brust learned, earning and gaining the knowledge from the SNS was much more than just recognition. It was the key to doing her job professionally.

“It was what our program coordinator and my supervisor, June Barrett told me when I first took this job,” recollects Brust. “She said, ‘We live with the regulations every day and we are the agency that directors are calling for answers to questions, all across the board. So, you are the one who goes back and reads the regulations and does the research. If you want to speak their language and perform at the highest level of your job, you need an SNS.’”

Brust took that message to heart.

“I most definitely use the SNS every day,” she confessed. “It does not matter whether I am preparing training or answering a question on the telephone, I use it.

“I felt like it was a difficult exam and I had to study quite hard over many nights and weekends preparing. But no, I have absolutely no regrets at all. I now feel like I am well-prepared to give directors the information they need or I know where to go to get it.”

Learn how you can join Jeanne Brust and many food service professionals by earning your SNS. Get started today!

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