The national, non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) has named Regina Coleman from Larchmont Elementary School the Northwest regional Manager of the Year. Considered the highest honor a school nutrition manager can earn, the award recognizes a cafeteria manager who has demonstrated dedication and ingenuity to improve his or her school meal program.
One of Coleman’s primary duties as child nutrition manager is to create a welcoming environment for her students, greeting each one with a smile and calling them by name. Her patience and passion for her students make her a role model in Larchmont Elementary. Working with a group of special education students in her kitchen part-time, Coleman teaches how to work safely and efficiently and build practical skills so that they will be able to maintain a job after school.
She encourages parents and students to get involved with school nutrition and she manages her school’s social media platforms to stay in contact with parents and answer questions. Through YouTube videos, she recruits new employees, educates parents on food related concerns and enhances the community within and outside of the school district.
As a professional who appreciates continued education, Coleman encourages staff members to take advantage of available nutrition and skills classes. For the past 10 years, she has helped secure stipends needed to pay for these classes for staff.
Coleman is there to offer advice and answer staff questions on everything from nutrition guidelines and time management to union contracts. She encourages staff to join SNA and attend Washington School Nutrition Association events and trainings. Last year, she brought three members from her staff to their first ever Annual National Conference (ANC). While attending ANC last year, she participated in as many education sessions as she could, taking in the latest in school nutrition and food service news to share with her staff.
“Regina Coleman has shown a strong work ethic and unmatched passion for school nutrition and food service over the years,” said SNA President Gay Anderson, SNS. “Her commitment to SNA’s mission to provide healthy, nutritious meals to children is only strengthened by her advocacy for members in her local chapter and in SNA national.”
The Manager of the Year Award is given in honor of Louise Sublette, a leader in school nutrition in her state and in the national School Nutrition Association. During her 43 years in the profession, Sublette worked in many areas of foodservice – public schools, colleges, hospitals and elderly feeding programs. Sublette dedicated her career to honoring school nutrition professionals and ensuring those who work in school cafeterias have access to professional development opportunities, empowering them to help their school meal programs flourish.
On July 14, Coleman will be honored during the Red Carpet Awards Ceremony at the School Nutrition Association’s 73rd Annual National Conference in St. Louis, MO.