Featuring Texas-grown produce, fun tastings and delicious specials, Garland ISD’s Student Nutrition Services (SNS) is revolutionizing school meals in campuses districtwide. The group’s innovation is not only making an impact locally, it is also garnering attention across the state and nation. SNS recently received its second consecutive Excellence in Summer Meals Gold Level Sponsor distinction, and culinary supervisor Anna Smith was the first in Texas to be named a Rising Star by a national publication.
To obtain a Gold Level Sponsor, the Texas Hunger Initiative, Food Research & Action Center, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas evaluated the district’s summer meals program by reviewing its programming and operations, food quality, and outreach efforts. In addition, GISD was also judged based on the satisfaction of staff at meal sites.
“Garland ISD is being recognized for Excellence in Summer Meals for the second year in a row,” states a Dallas Excellence in Summer Meals Campaign statement. “Providing food that is both appealing to children and nutritious is critical to the success of a summer meals program. Besides providing summer meals to the students of the community, Garland ISD served almost 3 million student breakfasts and 130,000 after-school meals.”
Smith helped develop and serve those healthy meals throughout the year. At just 24 years old, her creativity and enthusiasm are helping her make history. The young chef is the state’s only to become a FoodService Director Magazine Rising Star.
“FoodService Director’s inaugural class of Rising Stars [are] a group of industry professionals whose energy, ideas and passion stand apart from the crowd, earning the notice of their peers,” wrote FoodService Director Magazine Managing Editor Kelsey Nash.
“We are very proud of what Anna has brought to our department,” said GISD Assistant Director of Nutrition and Menu Operations Jennifer Craig. “We congratulate and thank her for all she does for GISD students.”
Smith was nominated by her colleagues and inducted into the exclusive class of 24 Rising Stars due to her ambition, commitment and vision. This past year, she helped establish student focus groups, developed an employee culinary training program and participated at the Institute of Child Nutrition’s chef panel. And, the busy culinary artist has big plans for the future.
“During my time in SNS, I would really like to get a summer cooking camp started,” she revealed. “It would be a program where students could learn cooking basics about flavors, and maybe even take field trips to farmers markets or local farms to teach them about where their food comes from. I am thankful every day for the opportunity to work with such talented and supportive people who think outside the box and challenge me to do the same.”