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2017 Board of Directors Elections

Thursday, February 23, 2017  

Get to know our members running for SNA of Mass. Board of Directors positions this year.

Online voting closed on 3/9/2017. Thank you for your votes!

Vice President: Thomas Houle

Title: Director of Food & Nutrition 

District: Nashoba Regional School District 

SNA Member Since: 20+ years

Certified / Credentialed Status: Level 3 Certification in process 

Previous SNA Volunteer Positions: Delegate Elect, Delegate, Professional Development Committee, Ambassador Program

EducationBS in Food & Nutrition from Framingham State College/University 

Work Experience: 20+ years in school nutrition 

I write this narrative today to express my interest in the position of Vice President for SNA of MA. This being the 65th year of SNA, I truly believe it to be time to run for a spot on our executive board and work to give to the association that has given me so much in my 20+ years in school nutrition.

I began my career in the late 80s as the catering manager at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. From there I became the Chef-Director at The New England Center for Children. After over 8 years there, I started my public school service and other than a 2 year stint in sales, have been in public school nutrition since.

In 2014 I became a delegate-elect for Chapter 2 in SNA of MA. As that year went by, I found myself looking to do more for the chapter and the state SNA. From the delegate elect, I became the Chapter 2 Delegate and today I serve on the Professional Development Committee as well as the Ambassador Program. 

Although time is often at a premium, I will make the time to work with my chapter and state boards for the common good our program and ultimately the children we feed daily. I find myself able to do this with the recent hire of an admin. assistant and full support of my Superintendent and Business Manager.

It is with great passion for what I do, I look forward to working with all of the directors in the state of MA, as without the guidance, networking and comradery of fellow school nutrition directors in SNA, I would not be the director I am today. By becoming a leader, I hope to share all that I have learned in my career as well as help to ensure our children are fed healthy & nutritious meals that are appealing as well as delicious.

Thomas Houle

Vice President:Susan Murray, SNS

Title: Director of Food & Nutrition Services

District: Nauset Public Schools & Cape Cod Technical Regional High School

SNA Member Since: 2002

Certified / Credentialed Status: SNS & Level 3 Certified

Previous SNA Volunteer Positions: Membership Chair 2005/2006, Delegate-Elect 2007/2008 & 2011/2012, Delegate 2008/2009 & 2012/2013, Public Relation Committee 2013/2014, Professional Development 2015-Present, Exhibits/Ambassador Committee 2015-Present. 

Education: B.S. Food Service Management, Associate Pastry Arts – Johnson & Wales University, Providence RI., Occupational Education – Vocational Technical Certificate Program (Massachusetts Teacher Certificate (#T26, Approval #5025259) – Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, MA, Certificate in Child Nutrition – Framingham State College/The John Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition, Framingham, MA, Certified Health Coach – Institute of Integrative Nutrition, New York, NY. 

Work Experience: Director of Food & Nutrition Services, Nauset Public Schools (Orleans, MA) 2012 to Present, Director of Food & Nutrition Services, Cape Cod Technical Regional High School (Harwich, MA) 2015 to Present, Director of Dining Services, Duxbury Public Schools/Chartwells (Duxbury, MA) 2010-2012, Director of Dining Services, Barnstable Public Schools/Chartwells (Hyannis, MA) 2005-2010, Director of Food Services, Greater Lowell Technical High School/Aramark (Tyngsboro, MA) 2002-2005, Culinary Arts Instructor/Food Service Manager, Upper Cape Cod Technical High School (Bourne, MA) 2000-2002, Culinary Arts Instructor, Harbor Schools and Family Services (Amesbury, MA) 1998-2000

I have a wealth of knowledge from all aspects of school nutrition and the food service industry, along with my own thirst to learn new things I feel that I can only enhance the already great work that is being done for the association. SNA of Mass is growing and expanding every year and I would like to be a part of energy and enthusiasm to help move the association to grow and expand. When I first became a food service director back in 2002, I didn’t have much experience in school lunch. I was introduced to SNA of Mass within my first year and was welcomed by the members who were extremely helpful. It will always be with me the phone call from the director who welcomed me and answered all my questions. I have been a member ever since and I hope that I have been able to give back that same feeling of belonging that was given to me back when I needed it the most. It has been instilled in me to give service when I can and it will always come back in more ways than I have given. This has been true in many different incidents when I have given my time and knowledge to help others. I have enjoyed all of the volunteer positions that I have had over the years with SNA and becoming Vice President is just another way to give back what I have so generously been given. 

Chapter 1 Delegate-Elect: Melody Gustafson

Name: Melody Gustafson

Job Title: Food & Nutrition Director 

School District: Monson Public Schools

SNA Member Since: 2002

Certified / Credentialed Status: Currently in process of submitting documentation for random audit verification. 

Previous SNA Volunteer Positions: Delegate Elect/Delegate 2014-2016, Public Relations Chair 2011-2014, Future Leaders 2008 Delegate Elect/Delegate 2006-2008 along with being a member on committee’s and numerous volunteering activities. 

Education: Certificate of Excellence in Child Nutrition and New Life program at Framingham State, SNA-certified, and Serve-Safe certified along with many other certificates and college credits from DESE / Framingham State. 

Work Experience: 16 years in current position in Monson Schools. Previous 15 years in Monson Schools received on the job training from line staff to head cook.

My past and recent experience serving as delegate make me the perfect candidate for chapter 1. I have proven that I have been dedicated and followed thru with my commitments on the position I am serving in along with increasing our membership. Working on the board in their new goals and networking with board members is a rewarding personal experience along with lasting friendships. I gained confidence in myself and realized I have value to offer back to the board. I feel the mix of new and experienced delegate elect/ delegate will encourage members in our chapter to make a commitment to the SNA of MA. Chapter 1 is currently a mix of new and seasoned directors. We have qualified candidates that would be wonderful but declined at this time because of being new on the job or family commitments. By giving them the gift of time, hopefully when they step up the experience will enhance their experience of serving on the board. We all know that if your first experience is rewarding and has personal value you have a member willing to serve and promote SNA of MA…. even a “future leader”.

Chapter 2 Delegate-Elect: Patty Rodrigues

Title: Cook Manager

District: Blackstone-Millville Regional School District

SNA Member Since: 2015

Certified / Credentialed Status: Certified 

Previous SNA Volunteer Positions: Helping out at chapter meetings and ANC Boston 

EducationSalem State College - Early Education  

Work Experience: Cook manager at Millville Elementary School

I have gained so much knowledge through SNA chapter meetings & conferences I feel it is time to give back. I am interested in how the board works and look forward to learning and participating at a higher level. I would be honored to serve.

Chapter 3 Delegate-Elect: Lynnea Gleason, RD, SNS

Title: Nutrition Coordinator 

District: Andover Public Schools

SNA Member Since: 2015

Certified / Credentialed Status: Level 3 certified, SNS credentialed

Previous SNA Volunteer Positions:  I have presented at numerous SNA Chapter meetings on both Social Media in School Nutrition as well as Food Allergies.

EducationBachelor’s Degree in Food & Nutrition from Framingham State University.  Will be graduating with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Education from Framingham State University in 2017.

Work Experience: Currently employed as the Nutrition Coordinator for Andover Public Schools for 1 year; 1 year as an Assistant to the Director at Dedham Public Schools; 2 years as a school nutrition and food service management consultant (also a current position); Food Allergies and Gluten Free in Schools workshop presenter for The John Stalker Institute.

Though my experience in school nutrition isn’t lengthy, it is vast.  I have only worked full-time for 2 districts in my career, but I have consulted for many others and it has taught me a lot more about the school nutrition world than I ever could have imagined.  I have a great sense of the needs of districts and I know I could be a great advocate for them and their needs if I were to be delegate-elect.  I also have a lot of experience with education and training—both important focuses for SNA—through my current nutrition coordinator position, my position as a John Stalker Institute workshop presenter, and from experience teaching nutrition lessons in school classrooms.  Being a registered dietitian, I also bring my knowledge of nutrition science to the association and will continue to use that knowledge to advocate for the health and wellness of our students.  I know that I could bring fresh ideas and insight to the association into how to continue to improve education, training, and nutrition, as well as marketing and social media, as we continue to move towards a more technologically-preferred world.  I take every opportunity to learn from others, to assist others when needed, and to be a leader when able.  I have a lot of leadership experience that has prepared me well to begin my journey into an SNA leadership role and would be honored to be chosen to start that journey as delegate-elect.

Chapter 4 Delegate-Elect: John R. Overcash, Jr.

Title: Food Service Director

District: Littleton

SNA Member Since: 1998

Certified / Credentialed Status: Credentialed

Previous SNA Volunteer Positions: Delegate and Delegate Elect Chapter 4

EducationAA Central Texas College, Certificate in Certificate In Excellence Fitchburg State University

Work Experience: Director Littleton Public Schools 2005-present, Director Ayer Public Schools 1998-2004, Food Service Director Woodford of Ayer skilled Nursing Facility 1997-1998,US Army 1976-1997

I’m really not good at “blowing my own horn” so to speak so this isn’t any easy task; to write about why I would like to be delegate elect.  I took a look at my Resume and while the intro paragraph is too formal but is suited for a resume.  In the close to 20 years I have been in this business we have experienced so many changes it has made my head spin around more times than Linda Blair’s in the Exorcist! The SNA and particular the folks at the chapter level have always been there to help decipher, share, commiserate, laugh cry and everything in between.  Getting together for educational opportunities or just to share ideas is the only way I have kept sane.  As we bring new members in to the fold those of us that have been here through thick and thin have much to offer.  It’s time for me to give back in more than just a casual way.  I have worked in the Food Service field for over 40 years!  First in college as a dishwasher and kitchen helper.  Then in the US Army for 21 years, talk about a challenge try cooking in the middle of the Iraqi dessert in 100-degree heat inside a tent!  Health care for a short time and now School Lunch, I’m old school it’s still School Lunch to me!  Any way I Have always felt I have a lot to offer and I think my background does provide me with a unique perspective on working in a commercial type kitchen and the requirements of rules and regulations!  In an Industry that is primarily comprised of women, although that is changing, I think it is important that the “male” perspective be added to the dialogue.  

Chapter 5 Delegate-Elect: Marilyn Haraden

Title: Director of Food Services

District: Cohasset

SNA Members Since: 2011 

Certified / Credentialed Status: Level 3 Certificate

Education: Associates Degree, Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales 1995; Certificate in Excellence in School Nutrition, Framingham State 2018

Work Experience: Cohasset Public Schools 8/11-present

I am a dedicated director and would like to get involved with the SNA on a higher level. My college degree and work experience make me a great candidate for this position. SNA of Mass. has provided me with excellent resources and networking opportunities and I am ready to participate at the board level and work to help support my chapter.



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