Quaker Valley School District officials believe they have the best food service director in the state, and the School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania agrees.
Carla Escribano was recently named Director of the Year by the organization. She will be recognized at its annual conference in August.
Escribano, a registered dietitian, joined Quaker Valley in 2018 after serving as a clinical dietitian at Villa St. Joseph.
“As a food service director, I have the opportunity to provide healthy, nutritious meals to students, which can have a positive impact on their health and well-being,” Escribano said. “Being recognized with this Director of the Year award is an incredibly humbling experience for me.”
SNAPA is the statewide nonprofit organization of school nutrition professionals committed to advancing the quality of child nutrition programs through education and advocacy. It was organized in 1955.
The Director of the Year Award is presented each year at the state, regional and national level.
Escribano’s nomination will be reviewed by a regional panel of judges and would advance to the national School Nutrition Association level should she be recognized as the regional Director of the Year.
It is unclear when the regional Director of the Year would be announced.
“We are so proud of Carla’s recognition,” said Superintendent Tammy Andreyko. “Her collaboration with outside agencies and local foundations has transformed her department, and her willingness to go above and beyond to support our schools and children is a testament to the incredible work she does every day.
“She instills the same ethic in the people in her staff, and she encourages them to embrace change. She is an exceptional director who brings years of stellar service and continues to drive the day-to-day operations at Quaker Valley.”
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Escribano attended the University of Puerto Rico where he earned a degree in nutrition and dietetics. She has a masters degree in wellness and human performance from the University of Pittsburgh. Her favorite healthy foods include quinoa, coconut and fresh berries.
Escribano said breakfasts are free throughout the district. Lunches are $3.05 and $3.75 for secondary premium meals. This includes up to two fresh fruit and two fresh vegetables, entree, juice and milk.
She said popular student meals include breakfast sandwiches with egg, turkey and cheese while pasta with meat sauce is the popular choice for lunch.
District officials said about 20% of students receive free/reduced meals. Because this is determined by family income, there isn’t a direct correlation with Escribano working for the district.
However, officials said she and her team work diligently to share free/reduced applications with families to ensure that all families can access the resources available to them.
Director nominations are judged in a variety of categories including program enhancement, staff development and community, school and School Nutrition Association involvement.
Escribano was recognized for her accomplishments, including collaboration with the district’s Life Skills program to enhance and promote the school coffee shop and provided real-world experience to students, preparing them for post graduation employment opportunities.
The high school coffee shop, called The Daily Grind, was opened prior to Escribano joining the district.
District officials said she has overseen it since its second year of operation. It serves hot and iced coffee, tea, lattes, hot chocolate and other beverages as well as prepared pastries, bagels and fruit. Some of the items are available as part of the free breakfasts while others, such as coffee, may have an additional cost. It is open from 7:30am-9am
SNAPA executive director Brandon H. Monk gave Escribano high praise.
“(Her) leadership in streamlining operations and improving efficiency in the food service program is commendable, and (her) commitment to sustainability by reducing food waste and using local and seasonal ingredients is inspiring,” Monk said via a release. “Implementing sustainable practices and reducing food waste has not only saved school money but has also had a positive impact on the environment and has helped to feed those in need.”
Escribano said student health and wellness is always top of mind.
“As a nutrition professional, I believe that it’s essential to inspire and educate others on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “
I’m excited to see what the future holds and to continue promoting healthy eating habits, healthy meals and providing nutrition education to those who need it most.”