Colonial School District Director of Food Services Lori McCoy, RD, SNS, has been named the national, non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) 2019 Northeast Regional Director of the Year. The award comes on the heels of McCoy being named the School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania (SNAPA) 2019 Director of the Year. In winning the regional award, she was selected over state winners from Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
The Director of the Year Award was created to recognize school nutrition directors who exhibit an extraordinary commitment to their school meal programs. The directors are responsible for maintaining the quality of the program through student interaction, menu planning and a commitment to serving nutritious, tasty and well-balanced school meals. Through effective oversight of all aspects of foodservice operations, including budgeting, staffing, training, marketing and community outreach, school nutrition directors ensure the overall success of school meal programs.
Since joining Colonial in 2007, McCoy has overseen an increase in school lunch and breakfast meal participation, drastically improved the Food Service Department financial position, revamped menus to include many healthy and nutritious choices and introduced programs to better serve students’ needs. She has creatively used grants from the Dairy Council, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Whole Foods Markets, Project PA and more to implement new programs such as breakfast kiosks at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School and Colonial Middle School; smoothie stations and Second Chance Breakfast at Conshohocken Elementary School; culinary training for all staff, as well as creating excitement with the mascot Walter Melon at the district’s five elementary schools.
McCoy has increased the speed of service through creation of an online pre-ordering form at the high school and the installation of a biometric finger-scanning system. She was the first food service director in Pennsylvania to participate in the USDA Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and developed made to order salad bars at the secondary levels. Under McCoy’s guidance and perseverance, Colonial was among the first school districts in the region to offer sushi as a menu selection.
She has participated in TV and newspaper interviews and been a panel speaker at the Pennsylvania governor’s state breakfast challenge to promote her district’s school nutrition program. McCoy had also started a cooking show with a local professional chef and students from the school, giving students and parents tips on how to eat healthier. She has created special promotional days in her cafeterias, including World School Milk Day, pep rallies with Philadelphia Eagle players, Cinco de Mayo-themed menus and more.
Additionally, McCoy serves as chair of the District’s Wellness Committee, visits classrooms to present nutrition lessons and has reached out to local organizations to fund summer meals programs and meals for families in financial need. In addition to successfully leading her department, she held multiple leadership positions for both PASBO (Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials) and SNA, including a term as president of the state SNA organization. Recognizing the importance of staff development, McCoy signed up all of her managers as SNA members to take advantage of the numerous training opportunities.
“Lori McCoy has introduced fantastic programs and given students more options to enjoy school meals, as well as feel like a part of the menu planning process,” said SNA President Gay Anderson, SNS. “Her dedication and passion for her students’ health and well-being are a perfect example of what it takes to be a director of the year.”
McCoy will be honored at the SNAPA Conference in Hershey, PA and during the Red Carpet Awards Ceremony at the School Nutrition Association’s 73rd Annual National Conference in St. Louis, MO on July 14, 2019.