Celebrating 23 Foodservice Pros this School Lunch Heroes Day!
May 6, 2021

23 Heroes!  While this number seems arbitrary, those chosen to win certainly were not!  Yes, of course, we are all too well aware of the fact that there are hundreds, no thousands of deserving School Lunch Heroes.  Started by SNA several years ago, Annual School Lunch Hero Day is celebrated May 7 this year and we wanted to honor our hardworking heroes.

We had to make some very difficult decisions and narrow down to just a few.  When we started, we thought we’d have five winners from across the country; but we just could not settle.  There are too many people in our industry doing too much good to go unnoticed.

So yes, of course, we would have loved to recognize more heroes, but we surely honor those in school food service who go above and beyond.  We look forward to making this an annual tradition and can not wait to acknowledge more heroes next year!

See the full story in the news release we issued today highlighting just a few of the winners. Winners were selected from nominations made by E S Foods’ regional sales directors who work closely with the school districts.

Below is our complete list of winners who were recognized locally and presented with awards at their school district.


Winners by Region

Northwest Region, E S Foods National K12 Director James Redou

Seattle Public Schools, Seattle, WA – Aaron Smith, Director of Child Nutrition

Yakima School District, Yakima WA – Cassie Davidson, Director of Child Nutrition

Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, Kansas City, KS – Josh Mathiasmeier, Dir. of Child Nutrition

Aurora Public Schools, Aurora, CO – Shannon Solomon, Director of Child Nutrition

Anchorage School District, Anchorage, AK – Bob Schwarz, Logistics Supervisor


 Western Region, E S Foods K12 Regional Sales Director Abbi Gardner

Southern California: Downey USD, CA – Lily Ivanov, Assistant Director of Food Services

Northern California: Fresno USD, CA – Barbara Stewart, Buyer II, Nutrition Center

Davis School District, Davis UT – Pam Tsakalos, Director, Nutrition Services

Cartwright ESD, Phoenix, Arizona – Diane Gruman, Director, Nutrition Services


Midwestern Region, E S Foods K12 Regional Sales Director Cheryl Pratt

Diocese of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA – Lynda Carville, Child Nutrition Director

Palatine CCSD #15, Palatine, IL – Kristen Voigts, Director of Child Nutrition

Shelby County  Schools, Memphis TN – Shelby County CN Team, SCS Nutrition Services

Bloomington School District, Bloomington, MN – Rynetta Renford, Food Service Director

Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, IA – Amanda Miller, Director of Food & Nutrition


Eastern Region, E S Foods K12 Regional Sales Director Micah Scott

Public Schools of Robeson County, Robeson County, NC – Charlene Locklear, Director

Chesterfield County PS, Chesterfield County, VA – Tami Radcliff, Purchasing Coordinator

Framingham Public Schools, Framingham, MA – Brendan Ryan, Director

New Britain Public Schools, New Britain, CT – Jeffrey Taddeo, Resident District Manager


Southwestern Region, E S Foods K12 Regional Sales Director Ruben Pena

Gadsden Public Schools, Gadsden, NM – Maria Guerra, Director Student Nutrition

Shawnee Public Schools, Shawnee, OK – Aline Knoles, Interim Director of Student Nutrition

Pasadena ISD, Pasadena, TX – Jodie DeFrancesco, Assistant Director of Nutrition Services

Spring ISD, Houston, TX – Shelly Copeland, Director of Child Nutrition

Pharr San Juan Alamo ISD, Pharr, TX – Imelda Palacios, Director of Child Nutrition