Program honors the hard-working nutrition professionals serving over 30 million students each day
LINQ Announces Winners of the 2021-2022 Lunchroom Rockstars Program
Looking ahead to the 2022-23 school year, supply chain disruptions, inflation, and rising gas prices continue to produce unprecedented complications for school nutrition teams. Continued troubles come on the heels of a year defined by pandemic-related disruptions. Ongoing issues require school nutrition teams to go above and beyond to ensure that the children who rely on them for their next meal have access to food. To honor these hardworking school nutrition professionals, today, LINQ, the only 100% cloud and browser-based school nutrition solution available to the K-12 industry, announces the three winners of this year’s Lunchroom Rockstars program.
“Highlighting these professionals is essential to recognizing the importance and impact they have on school districts and individual students,” said Matthew Essner, LINQ Senior Director of Sales. “LINQ respects and recognizes the dedication and commitment of K-12 nutrition professionals that are constantly working to bring abundant, healthy food to districts all around the country.”
Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, LINQ received over 50 nominations for the Lunchroom Rockstars program. Every professional nominated is highly recommended by their peers as a leader in the field of K-12 nutrition. LINQ selected three winners based on the impact they’ve had within their schools and communities while serving students.
Meet the Lunchroom Rockstars of 2021-22:
Paul Ingram, Crystal River High School (Florida)
- Paul Ingram is a Food Service Manager in Citrus County School District in Florida. He participates on several committees at the local and state level to ensure that the school system is well nourished and well stocked. His team provided both breakfast and lunch for over 102,000 students during the 2021-2022 school year.
- “Mr. Ingram is quite deserving of being recognized as the Lunchroom Rockstar for 2022,” said Gwen Frier, FNS Operations specialist and nominator of Paul Ingram. “He is a leader among his peers and is continuously seeking new ways to sharpen his skills as well as embark on new endeavors. Along with providing nutritious meals for students, he also carries positive energy both inside and outside the workplace with his “can-do” attitude. We cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”
Juanita Copeland, Jackson Middle School (Missouri)
Juanita Copeland is a Kitchen Manager at Jackson Middle School who, according to her peers, has managed to defy any obstacle life has thrown her way. She is currently suffering from cancer, but according to her colleagues, she hasn’t missed a day of work in the 18 years she has worked at Jackson Middle School. She was nominated by the Director of Nutrition Services for her district, Karen Sander, who recognized Juanita’s hard work in times of adversity.
“The fact that she works so hard despite a health setback is huge” said Sander. “She comes to work, opens her kitchen, goes to get her chemo and comes straight back to make sure her students are fed. Juanita and her crew of 10 ladies work to make as many meals from scratch as possible and serve it to over 800 students every single day. Juanita is just an awesome and amazing worker.”
Heidi Asselton, Central High School (Georgia)
Heidi Asselton, Cafeteria Manager at Central High School, received two separate nominations from her peers.
“Heidi and her crew are always willing to make a positive impact,” said Tilwanja Lucas, School Nutrition Director at Bibb County School District. “A nearby state school is under construction renovation, and Heidi didn’t hesitate to help, jumping into action to serve the school student population with special needs.”
“She rocks!” said Timikel Sharpe, Executive Director of School Nutrition at Bibb County School District. “Heidi has served the children of this district as both a substitute and permanent manager. Her upbeat, bubbly contagious personality always makes meal service pleasurable for her students. Along with being a great leader, she also trains and encourages her team members to be leaders and accountable.”
All of the Lunchroom Rockstar winners received a plaque for display at their school and they were honored at the IGNITE 2022 Party sponsored by LINQ and hosted by Next Up on Sunday, July 10th. IGNITE 2022 was the largest K-12 foodservice networking event of 2022.
For more information on Lunchroom Rockstars program, visit this link.
For more on LINQ, visit http://www.linq.com.
The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.