“My SNF scholarships toward my education helped get me here!”
How would a School Nutrition Foundation scholarship make a difference in your life? SNA member & scholarship recipient Ruth Conner (SNS), of Williamsville Central Schools in New York shares her story.
How did you find the school nutrition profession?
In 1998 I accepted a job as Cook Manager for Buffalo City Schools. My perception was that this was a temporary “job” while my children were young. It was the perfect way to have weekends, holidays, vacations and the occasional snow day!
I always attended the State level conferences and Local workshops, and in 2011 I decided to take a civil service exam; the next part of my “job” as Assistant Supervisor for Child Nutrition started in 2012. This is where things started to transform. My first National Conference was in 2013 Kansas City. I was pretty overwhelmed but was so impressed with passion and drive everyone felt for Child Nutrition.
What prompted your decision to go back to school to earn a degree?
When I received the invite for NYSNA Executive Board, I was surrounded by inspiring leaders making a difference at the state and national levels. The influence of peers respected, and the belief that this was now a career, prompted me to go back to school. HHFKA Professional Standards meant I would need a bachelor’s degree if I wanted to be the Director of a large district. When I decided to go back to school, I was shocked at the cost and lack of assistance available. The SNF scholarship money I received helped me obtain my bachelor’s degree, which I completed in May of 2017. On July 1st I was promoted to Supervisor for Buffalo City, and the following October I was successful in obtaining my SNS.
In 2019 I had the honor of chairing the NYS Conference for Child Nutrition with the theme #LoveWhatWeDo. Words could never be more true.
June 30th, 2020 I started the next chapter of my career as The Child Nutrition Director for Williamsville Central School District. It takes a village to raise a child… but truly it takes a village for all successes in life. My village of Child Nutrition is filled with people I admire and have motivated me set higher goals for myself. The Child Nutrition Professional is dedicated to children and ensuring that no child will be hungry in or out of school. I am so honored and thankful to be part of all levels of the associations and the voice they represent.
How has your SNF “Help Feed School Kids Now!” grant from School Nutrition Foundation helped during the pandemic?
The financial impact of this pandemic has made any additional expense “too much.” A short list of our needs includes packaging materials for both in-school and home delivery, equipment for classroom feeding, portable POS devices for multiple serving locations and on-line ordering—this is just a few areas where additional funds could be used.
At this time we are triaging equipment repair needs, the replacement of staffing, and the affordability of PPE. It appears that I have made a career change at a very challenging time. I am driven to make it as successful as possible with much help as I can ask for. We are not a “high need” district but today we are all in need of any assistance out there.