Waterford, MI Schools Food Service Director named School Nutrition Hero

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) has recognized Food Service Director Doreen Simonds, of Waterford, MI, as one of five 2017 School Nutrition Heroes. She was nominated by peers and chosen by the SNF to represent the many professionals who have dedicated their lives to serving the needs of school children and the community. The heroes were chosen from a pool of professionals in all 50 states.

Described as a “charismatic, yet humble leader” with “relentless energy,” Doreen has dedicated 31 years to the Waterford School District. There, she has taken initiative to engage students through exciting events and educational programs.

Doreen Simonds, a 2017 School Nutrition Hero, also received the School Nutrition Association of Michigan 2016 Director of the Year Award.

“Doreen is a leader in her county and state for promoting school wellness, student health and community involvement for making healthy changes happen for her students,” said Lori Adkins, SNS, Child Nutrition Consultant for Oakland Schools (MI), who nominated Doreen for the School Nutrition Heroes Award. “In following her passion to help kids become healthy through food and physical activity, Doreen has successfully led the community to work together towards the common and profound goal of improving health, wellness and care of kids.”

Spearheading a district-wide Farm to School program, Doreen created three school gardens and partnered with Oakland County Farmers to provide fresh Michigan produce on the schools’ menus.

Doreen planned a 1,200-student “Let’s Move” event, where students “toasted” to new meal regulations with non-fat flavored milk, using a Fuel Up to Play 60 grant to fund the event at the Crary Middle School track. She rallied students to join in the attempt to be named as an official World’s Record for the longest continuous milk toast.

In 2011, Doreen created a “Food and Fit Committee,” a wellness team made up of physical education teachers, nutrition staff and students. The team has supported multiple initiatives throughout her district, including “Jump and Jill” and HOP Sports activity programs. Doreen’s efforts extend beyond school nutrition, setting up field trips to local farmers’ markets, arranging a free “Smile Dentist” to provide kids with dental treatments and holding annual book swaps.

Simonds bringing students in Waterford (MI) to a nearby apple orchard for fresh, local apples.

“Doreen’s passion, caring and dedication makes her an ideal School Nutrition Hero,” said School Nutrition Association CEO Patricia Montague, CAE. “The events she has organized on behalf of school nutrition have made a positive effect on both the lives of her students and their families.”

All of the 2017 School Nutrition Heroes will be recognized at SNF’s Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes, during School Nutrition Association’s 45th Legislative Action Conference in Washington, DC in April. The annual Celebration is SNF’s signature and sole fundraising event to support the Foundation’s education, research and scholarships for school nutrition professionals.


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