The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) is pleased to announce the 2023 Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow, Bonnie Gassett, Food Services Area Supervisor for Virginia Beach City (Va.) Public Schools. As this year’s fellow, Gassett will be provided with up to $3,000 to cover travel expenses to SNA’s 2023 Legislative Action Conference (#LAC23) in Washington, D.C., next month.
An active member of SNA nationally and locally, Gassett was named both the 2022 Southeastern region Manager of the Year and Virginia’s Manager of the Year. She has held several board positions with her local chapter of School Nutrition Association of Virginia and previously attended SNA’s Annual Nutrition Conference (ANC), Virginia’s state association conference and the 2023 School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC).
“Attending the Legislative Action Conference will help make me a stronger advocate for our school nutrition program and all of my students. I hope to gain more knowledge to help support policies that positively impact families across the country,” Gassett said.
The Josephine Martin National Policy Fellowship was founded in honor of Dr. Josephine Martin, a pioneer in the field of school nutrition who launched her career at the Georgia Department of Education in 1950 as the assistant school lunch director. Dr. Martin soon became a vocal advocate for child nutrition, influencing legislation on the community, state, and federal levels. SNA and SNF honors her by giving a scholarship in her name to a deserving SNA member each year.
“This important annual conference provides members with an opportunity to learn more about federal policies and proposals that impact the operations of school meal programs and the students they serve. Members are empowered to share the perspectives from their local school cafeterias directly with Members of Congress,” said SNA/SNF Chief Executive Officer Patricia Montague, FASAE, CAE. “This year, Bonnie will join school nutrition colleagues to urge Congress to permanently increase federal meal reimbursements, allow schools to offer all students free school meals and maintain current school nutrition standards.”
Additionally, SNF has awarded the LAC J.T.M. Food Group Jack Maas, Jr., Scholarships for first-time attendees to Casey Partain, Child Nutrition Program Director for Marshall County (Ala.) School System and Elizabeth Martinez, Director of Nutrition Services for Carson City (Nev.) School District
Christopher Byrd (2022 Josephine Martin Fellow), Executive Chef for Jefferson County (Ky.) Public Schools and Anne Rich, Food Service Director for Frontier Central Schools, N.Y., have been named as the LAC Scholarship Winners for previous attendees.
These winners will join 800 fellow school nutrition professionals from across the country in Washington, D.C. at #LAC23 from March 5-7, where they will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with industry peers, sharing successes and challenges as they continue efforts to support child nutrition in their local communities. Together, they will take part in important discussions with members of Congress to advocate for school nutrition program support and urge that all schools be able to offer healthy school meals at no charge for all students.