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JM’s Kotson Earns WV School Nutrition Manager of the Year

Sandy Kotson, West Virginia School Nutrition Association 2022 Manager of the Year
Sandy Kotson, West Virginia School Nutrition Association 2022 Manager of the Year

West Virginia School Nutrition Association (SNA) has named John Marshall High School Cafeteria Manager Sandy Kotson the 2022 Manager of the Year. The award recognizes the dedication, ingenuity and compassion shown by SNA members who have excelled in keeping students nourished for learning.

Sandy works hard every day to make sure everyone is being fed. She started an after-school supper program for the students who stay after school for enrichment activities. She worked with her building administration to develop procedures about how students could be served nutritious meals that would help them learn, grow and focus on their after-school activities. The program recently started with about 20 students and in a few short weeks were at 80. Holding a taste testing for students is another way Sandy makes sure everyone is eating. This gives the kids a voice in what they like and don’t like. She does her best to incorporate the items they like into the menu.

Sandy maintains the ServSafe Manager Food Safety Certification. She encourages all staff to take the test. Sandy also takes many on-line classes during the year through the Institute of Child Nutrition. The staff she has in her kitchen, for the most part, have all been together for about 15 years. She does everything in her power to make sure they all work as a team to serve the needs of her students. Laughter and fun are a must in her kitchen. Sandy is a great leader as there are ten cooks in her kitchen. They have fun together; they laugh and joke and enjoy each other’s company.

“School nutrition professionals like Sandy have always played a critical role in supporting students’ well-being and success by providing nutritious meals to fuel academic achievement,” said Marshall County Schools Nutrition Director Debbie Derico. “This year, Sandy didn’t let supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and other pandemic challenges stop her from serving her students. Sandy’s commitment to supporting students is a testament to the amazing work being done by school nutrition professionals across our state.”

The Manager of the Year Award is given in honor of Louise Sublette, a leader in school nutrition in her state and in the national School Nutrition Association. During her 43 years in the profession, Sublette worked in many areas of foodservice—public schools, colleges, hospitals and elderly feeding programs. Sublette dedicated her career to honoring school nutrition professionals and ensuring those who work in school cafeterias have access to professional development opportunities, empowering them to help their school meal programs flourish.