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Going Local: New Leadership for School Nutrition

Expert local food service managers hired to replace Sodexo contractor management team

Eugene School District 4J is going local, bringing our school food service program in-house after more than 20 years of contracting with large food services management companies.

In a first step this spring, the district is hiring a local food service management team that will be charged with developing menus, food forecasting and food procurement, as well as regional program oversight.

We are very pleased to have selected an outstanding team of regional managers to implement our new self-operated food service program. These three experienced managers have broad experience in student nutrition, culinary practices, and staff training, as well as a passion for serving students through school nutrition.

Jill Cuadros joined 4J Nutrition Services last fall, coming to us from the University of Oregon where she was executive chef and dining services manager for student meal services. She is now stepping into a lead role where her multifaceted experience in working with students and nutrition will be instrumental. Ms. Cuadros specializes in nutrition and the culinary arts, with a focus on building sustainable programs through expanding staff capacity. Her deep knowledge in the day-to-day operations of production cooking will help her lead development of the infrastructure necessary to expand scratch cooking and nutritional literacy in schools.

Jose Alvarez will lead development of food and staff safety programs. Mr. Alvarez has nearly 30 years of experience in food service; he currently oversees the Lane County Youth Services nutrition services program including daily meal service and all aspects of MLK Catering, as well as the vocational and culinary arts training program for youth. He will join 4J in mid-June.

Jennie Kolpak, a registered dietitian, will lead development of menus and recipes reflective of the district’s goal to increase scratch cooking with more local ingredients. With more than a decade of experience as the nutrition services director at our neighboring Bethel School District in west Eugene, she brings with her a strong focus on nutrition promotion and education, local purchasing, and increasing program accessibility. Ms. Kolpak will complete the school year in Bethel and join 4J in July.

Holly Langan will continue leading the Nutrition Services Department and development of new systems for quality student food service.

We welcome Jill, Jose and Jennie to our 4J team. The district will shift to a self-operated student meal services program in late June and July, beginning with the summer food service program. Stay tuned for updates as the transition to in-house nutrition services management progresses.

 

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