Massachusetts School Director Named National School Nutrition Hero

Serving healthy school meals to Billerica Public Schools (MA) students for more than 12 years, Director of School Nutrition April Laskey, SNS, also strives to meet her students’ needs beyond school doors. Due to her generous and heartfelt efforts across the district and in her community, the non-profit School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) has recognized April as one of five 2018 national School Nutrition Heroes.

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April Laskey, SNS, Director of School Nutrition for Billerica Public Schools.

Nominated by her peers, April was chosen by SNF to represent the many professionals who have dedicated their lives to serving the needs of school children and the community. 2018 School Nutrition Heroes hail from all over the United States.

Seeing families with limited access to nutritious foods, her team partnered with the Greater Boston Food Bank to create the Billerica Public Schools Food Market. Approximately 450 families visit once a month and receive anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds of fresh produce and frozen and shelf-stable foods.

 

“April seamlessly coordinates the Market – the families coming through, volunteers handing out food, and many student volunteers serving as ‘runners’ for those needing extra help,” said Dina Wiroll, Food Service Director at Assabet Valley Regional Technical School District. “April is always the first to host community events for the first time and she doesn’t blink an eye when it is time to step up and get things done. When I see what April is doing, it inspires me to do more for my community and school district.”

During her time as the Director of School Nutrition, April has introduced many exciting programs to help increase the healthy options in her district’s cafeterias. She started a “Taste it Thursday” program, where new menu items are introduced and taste tested with students. She has also organized Harvest of the Month lessons and samples for elementary students, Chopped Challenge contests for middle and high school students and barbeques for elementary Back to School night, incoming high school freshmen and their families.

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April goes above and beyond to make programs, like the Billerica Memorial High School Chopped Competition an annual highlight for students.

“April brings a level of enthusiasm and passion to her job unmatched by many,” said School Nutrition Association CEO Patricia Montague, CAE. “She has implemented exciting programs that not only enhance a student’s experience in the cafeteria, but ensure that they have access to healthy foods even when they leave school for the day.”

All of the 2018 School Nutrition Heroes will be recognized at SNF’s Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes, during School Nutrition Association’s 46th Legislative Action Conference in Washington, DC in March. 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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