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Transition to Self-Operation

Beginning July 1, 2019, 4J Nutrition Services assumed all management of student meal service. After more than 20 years of contracting with a food services management company to manage student meal programs, the district has determined that self-operating nutrition programs will allow us to better serve students. Building this program will take time, but general goals include increasing scratch-made items when feasible, reducing use of highly processed foods, and expanding purchase of locally grown or harvested food.


  • March 2019: Board approved return to self-management
  • April 2019–May 2019: Hired management team and began building program infrastructure (such as: menu development; food forecasting and procurement; kitchen supplies and equipment purchases; operations systems development and documentation)
  • June 2019: Completed site audits at 36 locations to transition smallware and other items from Sodexo to 4J; included removal of all items to be replaced by 4J, such as utensils, pans, trays, and other kitchen serving items; summer program planning and menu development; finalizing food cooperative bid and purchasing forecast with Applegate Food Cooperative; beginning development of local purchasing relationships.
  • July 2019: Full management team onsite; assumed complete responsibility for student meal services; served summer meal sites; recovered remaining kitchen smallwares from sites to redistribute and complete with new items.
  • August 2019: Setting up kitchens with new smallwares, testing recipes for taste and time to prep and cook, recruitment for vacant kitchen team positions; ordering and projections with food vendors.


Leading efforts for the department will be three experienced managers with broad experience in student nutrition, culinary practices, and staff training. Each will develop new systems and lead our transition to self-operations, bringing a passion for serving students through school nutrition.

Jose Alvarez. With nearly 30 years in food service, Jose joins 4J in mid-June and will lead development of food and staff safety programs. Jose provided oversight of the Lane County Youth Services Nutrition Services Program including daily meal service and all aspects of MLK Catering, as well as the vocational & culinary arts training program for youth.

Jill Cuadros. After joining 4J in Fall 2018, Jill steps into a lead role with multifaceted experience in working with students and nutrition. Jill 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.

Jennie Kolpak, Jennie, a Registered Dietitian, joins 4J in July and will lead development of menus and recipes reflective of the district’s goal to increase scratch cooking with more local ingredients. With over a decade of experience as the Nutrition Services Director at Bethel School District, she brings with her a strong focus on nutrition promotion and education, local purchasing, and increasing program accessibility.


Menus for September 2019 are now available in Titan, the web-based software for accessing menus and nutrition information.  Initial menus may be implemented in order to ensure availability of products for the first few months of school. Feedback will be requested as new items are tested and procurement available for local foods.

See menus and nutrition facts: Titan Family Portal


Updates will be posted on this page and on the Nutrition News page.

QUESTIONS? Please email us at nutrition@4j.lane.edu