David is the Director of Nutrition Services at Westminster Public Schools in Westminster, CO. The district is comprised of 20 schools with 10,000 students and a free and reduced price eligibility of 80 percent. Financial responsibility for Nutrition Services was an immediate concern upon David’s arrival; he focused on cost controls and increasing participation through student engagement, which has led to a healthy bottom line for the food service program. These revenues will replace aging equipment, develop associates, build smarter lunchrooms and further enhance the food service program.
David graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems and worked with Cheyenne Mountain, Woodland Park, Fort Lupton, Summit, Lamar, Keenesburg and Fort Lupton school districts. After exploring Alaska, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the lower 48 states, David now resides in the Denver area with his bride of 20 years and their five teenage children.
Shelly has 25 years of experience in Child Nutrition Programs. Currently, she is the Director of Nutrition and Warehouse Services for the St. Vrain Valley School District. Previously, she worked for Denver Public Schools. Shelly has a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and a master’s degree in Human Resources and Organizational Management. Shelly is the President of the Colorado School Nutrition Association (CSNA), and she is very supportive of local farm to school efforts. The free and reduced price eligibility at St. Vrain is 32.4 percent.
Heather Williams is the Nutrition Services Manager at Canon City School District. Hannah encourages participation in the school meals programs, “because we don’t just serve lunch, we serve children” at the eight sites in Canon City Schools. Canon City School District has a free and reduced price eligibility percentage of approximately 50 percent and serves almost 4,000 meals every day.
Alice started in school food service as a substitute in the kitchen. She advanced to a full-time position after one person retired, and then assumed the Kitchen Manager position one year later when the kitchen manager retired. Alice is from Fowler School District in southeastern Colorado, with a pupil membership of 400. Alice is new to food service, but food service is part of her family; her sister is a kitchen manager in Maine! Alice looks forward to learning and growing in the position of the ACSN member. She is married, and has five children and 15 grandchildren!
Hannah Phillips is the Administrative Dietitian Pueblo City Schools and Pueblo District 70. Hannah is a registered dietitian and received her bachelor's degree in Culinary Nutrition at Johnson & Wales University and completed her dietetic internship at Idaho State University. She is responsible for menu planning and recipe development for Pueblo City Schools and coordinates wellness initiatives and leads the special diet programs in both school districts. Pueblo City Schools has approximately 17,000 students and a free and reduced price eligibility of 71 percent. Pueblo City Schools currently participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and provides meals free of charge to all students. Pueblo District 70 has approximately 9,900 students and a free and reduced price eligibility of 44 percent .
Katie is a registered dietitian and is currently the Food Service Director at Lewis-Palmer School District in Monument, Colorado. Lewis-Palmer school district has a pupil count of 6,275, and a free and reduced price eligibility of 9.51 percent. Katie joins the ACSN as the representative for Region 6.
Janet Fogel is the food service director for the Mancos School District, in the southwest corner of Colorado. Janet has a degree in Nutrition Science and has a history of sourcing locally grown foods and making them more readily available to the community. She took over the food service program in Mancos in 2012 and has implemented the Farm to School program, and also works closely with the Montezuma-Cortez School District’s Farm to School program. Mancos is a K-12 district with approximately 420 students. Since taking over the program, Janet’s participation numbers have more than doubled and for lunch she serves about 73 percent of the district. Janet has a passion for teaching children where their food comes from and ensuring that all students are food secure.
Sarah DeCristino is the Food Service Director for Hoehne School District, located about 20 miles northeast of Trinidad. Hoehne is a K-12 school district of approximately 350 students. Sarah started out in food service as a substitute in the kitchen, advancing to full time cook; in December 2015, Sarah was promoted to the position of Food Service Director. Sarah has always loved cooking and serving people and has gained many years of experience, including the director and assistant director at an early childhood development center, working with the free and reduced price meal program. With extensive experience and knowledge in accounting and business management, Sarah has been a driving force in developing the Hoehne school meal program. With the support of the superintendent and Hoehne School Board, Sarah’s passion and love for nutrition education, healthy choices and cooking from scratch, have led to the successful creation of an at-home cafeteria environment. Sarah is married with six children, ages 18, 16, 14, 12, 11 and, oops, a 2-year-old. Her family enjoys their ranch with cattle, horses, donkeys, chickens and pigs, and spending time camping. Sarah runs the hospitality team at her church and is involved with other local charities. Sarah is enthusiastic to have the opportunity to be part of the ACSN, representing Region 8; she hopes to help make an impact on all children and their happy healthy eating.
Erika is the Director of Food and Nutrition Services in Cherry Creek Schools in Centennial, CO. The district has about 55,000 students with 60 schools and a free and reduced price percentage of about 28 percent. She has a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from Colorado State University and a master’s of Public Health degree from the Colorado School of Public Health. After dabbling in clinical dietetics, teaching and health communications, Erika feels lucky to have found school nutrition – a perfect combination of the fields she enjoys most. Erika is actively involved in the Colorado School Nutrition Association (CSNA) and is the current CSNA Vice President.
Region 10: VACANT - volunteer needed
Kelly Grable Chrisman is the Director of Partnerships and School Relations with CharterChoice Collaborative (SFA). CharterChoice currently partners with 16 charter schools serving over 7,000 students. Kelly’s role is to help support prospective and participating charter schools with their healthy meal programs. Aspects of this role include identifying resources for participating charter schools and the CharterChoice organization to support ongoing efforts in offering healthy meals to students and participation in federal and state reimbursable meal programs. Prior to joining CharterChoice, Kelly spent over ten years with the Colorado League of Charter Schools working with charter schools and supporting the organization’s efforts in performance management and member services.
Jody has grown up and worked in the food service industry her entire life. While in high school and college, Jody worked for a food service management company that grew into a multi-million dollar company that was bought by Sodexo. Jody joined the nutrition department over 10 years ago, as the kitchen manager at Grand Valley High School; she assumed the director responsibilities five years ago. In the two-year span since Jody started as the director, the student count has gone from over 1300 students in five schools, to approximately 1100 in four schools. Her district has become expert in working with the boom and bust economies of their area; she can understand when districts are going through a boom and when they are cutting positions due to loss of students. One of the greatest rewards in her position is working with the students in her district. She appreciates the changes in meal patterns over the past few years, and has enjoyed working with many different partners to meet those challenges, and the different approach to nutrition for students. Her district is an expeditionary learning district and affords many opportunities to incorporate nutrition and learning into the projects that students work on for a semester (like school gardens). Jody encourages all directors to look outside the box and see what opportunities exist to support the hard work of the different departments in their district. These positive relationships with staff and students help to build support for the changes and challenges faced in school nutrition. Jody is a Colorado native, born and raised. As she and her husband built their lives and family, they moved down the valley to Battlement Mesa, where they have lived for over 15 years and have raised three daughters.
Steffiney is very excited to be a part of the Advisory Council for School Nutrition. Steffiney is dedicated to serving on the ACSN because she is from a small district on the eastern plains and she thinks small districts are sometimes overlooked. She has been the Food Service Director at Byers for the last 12 years. She does not have any formal education; however, Steffiney brings 26 years of food service/restaurant management to her district. When she took the food service program over in 2000, the district was supplementing the program approximately $13,000 a year; within two years, they were running in the black and continue to do so. Her greatest accomplishments have been improvements in their breakfast program and scratch cooking, which they have always done. Their district is approximately 465 students K-12, and they feed about 165 breakfasts and 325 lunches every day. Their free and reduced price eligibility is 50 percent.
Walter is the Food Service Director for Ellicott School District #22, and has gone through many changes in the 30 years he has been with the district. Walter joined the district in August 1985, driving a school bus full-time and working in the school kitchen. In 1994, he became the Food Service Director, with six full-time and four part-time staff. The full-time staff has been with the school district between four and 17 years. Walter receives great support from all areas of the district, including the board of education, superintendent, administration, teachers, students and a great food service staff. Walter has lived all of his life in Ellicott and attended all 12 years of school there. It is a great place to be and Walter believes he has some of the best students. Walter has three schools in the district, and there are 1,051 students currently enrolled, with a free and reduced price eligibility of 69 percent.
Kay is the Food Service Director for RE-1 Valley School District in Sterling. Her family operates a farm and ranching operation in northeast Colorado. Kay started out working in the Haxtun school kitchen, where her children were attending school. It was the perfect job for her while their kids were in school. Kay discovered she loved food service operations. After three years, Kay became manager and continued to take classes through CDE. Kay has been the director at RE-1 Valley for six years. RE-1 Valley School District has five schools, two alternative schools, two pre-schools and one after school club program. The district has 2,381 students currently enrolled, with a free and reduced price eligibility of 51 percent.
Sandy is an Area Supervisor for the Poudre School District Child Nutrition Program in Fort Collins. Previously, she worked as the Food Service Director for 10 years at Weld RE-1. In her current position, she is responsible for supervising 13 of the 45 sites that participate in the NSLP and NSBP. She is also the department contact for the early childhood meal programs. Sandy earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Services and is working on completing School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) certification. She has been an ACSN member since its inception in 2012.
Deb Yirku has worked in food service for 22 years, starting as a volunteer dishwasher at Evans Elementary in Falcon District 49. Deb has spent the last 21 years at the Calhan School District working as a dishwasher, baker, head cook and manager, and director. Calhan is a PK-12 school, has a 46 percent free and reduced rate and an enrollment of 458 students.
Since taking over as the director, Deb has started Breakfast after the Bell, Breakfast in the Classroom and Universal Free Breakfast Programs. Calhan School District was recognized by Hunger Free Colorado as a “Breakfast Champion School.” Additionally, snacks are provided to afternoon preschool, an afterschool tutoring program. Calhan has teamed up with LiveWell Colorado and has improved techniques, kitchen layout and meals. Meals are over 80 percent scratch cooking and sodium levels are at the 2017-18 levels. All of the menus have been recommended by Calhan students. It is all about the students, and Deb thinks that Calhan has the best!
Dan Sharp has worked 20 years in the hotel/resort industries from Scottsdale, AZ to Grand Junction, CO. In 2007, Dan became the Director of Food Services for Mesa County Valley School District #51 with an enrollment of 22,000 and a 44.5 percent free and reduced price eligibility.
Dan is an avid practitioner and teacher of organizational change and staff development in the workplace and as an adjunct for Colorado Mesa University. Dan’s career purpose is to help correct the significant gap that exists with leadership development. Focusing on the continual development of leaders (especially in the areas of personnel management) creates confidence and capacity, which enhances the organizations ability to handle continual change impacting profit and productivity. Dan has served on various civic boards in the Grand Junction area s, including the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau, the Horizon Drive Business Improvement District, the Colorado Mesa University Alumni board and the Kids Aid Backpack Program Foundation.
Dan and the food services team began the LiveWell School Meal Initiative with the site review in the fall of 2012. They were educated through the site process and thereafter through the talented LiveWell team. As they grew in knowledge from LiveWell’s resources and received the appropriate tools from the Colorado Health Foundation equipment grants, they have grown their capacity for change. D51 Food Services is much different from five years ago; they are financially self-sustaining, more efficient, and most of all, provide students with higher quality scratch made meals prepared at each school.