The My K12 Resource team invites you to get to know Danielle Johnson, Director of Food Services for Weaver Union School District in Merced, California. Danielle sought the help of the My K12 Resource team with a primary goal to create an entirely new recipe and menu database. Learn how My K12 Resource saved Danielle “numerous” hours of her time, allowing her to focus on what she loves and does best – feeding her students!
Meet the Director
1. Describe your role within your organization, and how long you have been in this role:
I am the Director of Food Services for Weaver Union School District, and I will have been in this role for four years come June 2019. Prior to this, I was with a district in Arizona, and before that, I was employed by the Arizona Department of Education. The transition from AZ to CA brought a new learning opportunity for me – I had to familiarize myself with California’s state regulations. I still learn something new each day! Right now I am learning more about procurement; it is definitely a hot topic among those of us in foodservice at this time. And about every three to four months, I pick a topic and challenge myself to learn more about it, or just refresh my knowledge on the topic.
2. What drew you to working in this industry?
You’ll be surprised – I actually was going to school to be a graphic designer! A friend of mine worked for the Arizona Department of Education and shared news of the open role on her team with me. The role involved work in commodities, and I decided to apply, as I needed a job while taking classes. I was offered the job the day after my initial interview! It turns out that I really enjoyed my work; I liked what we were doing as a team. I had a strong sense of purpose. I decided to switch my major to nutrition – and I’ve been in this field ever since.
3. What is the best part of your job?
One of the best things about this role is doing a site visit with one of my site managers during the lunch hour. The kids are my biggest motivator! When I’m having a bad day, doing this just boosts my mood. The students thank me for my work – how rewarding is that? I enjoy knowing that I’m feeding that child and helping him/her to foster their education. Without food, learning is challenging.
How My K12 Helped
How My K12 Helped
4. What specific challenge(s) were you experiencing prior to working with My K12 Resource?
Procurement is a challenging aspect of my job, but having enough time in my day to get everything done is my biggest challenge. We needed to completely start over and build a database from scratch. I didn’t have time to do this, and therefore sought the help of My K12 Resource. My contact at My K12 Resource has been phenomenal – just amazing! I just chime in and fill in any gaps.
5. Describe your experience working with the My K12 Resource team:
Teaming with My K12 Resource is definitely a time saver. I don’t know how many hours it took their team to populate our database, but building a database from the ground up is hard work and challenging. She saved me numerous hours. I was in the middle of researching software at the start of this project and the My K12 Resource team listened to what I was looking for and shared platforms with me that they knew would be a good fit.
6. What would you tell a colleague, peer, etc. who is experiencing the same challenge that you initially were experiencing? Would you recommend My K12 Resource?
I would definitely recommend My K12 Resource! They are very efficient, very communicative, and they check in with me on a regular basis to learn whether there is anything that I need or anything they can do to help. I never had to guess where they were at with my database build; they kept me informed.
Huge Time Saver
7. What change do you hope to see or are excited about in the field of child nutrition?
I do wish legislators would relax the fruit and vegetable requirement – just slightly, from a food waste perspective. I struggle to get my kids to eat fruit and vegetables, and I see a ton of waste as a result. We have tried many tactics and educational lessons, such as inviting students to tell us their favorites, and establishing a “share table.” We’ll continue to encourage eating fruits and vegetables, of course! But to help solve the waste issue, a local zoo has expressed interest in taking our food waste to feed some of their animals.
8. What is your favorite piece of advice that you have received?
“Remember why you’re here.” I revisit this piece of advice often; it reminds me why I do the work that I do.
9. What is your favorite food in your school cafeteria?
We just started a turkey bacon, egg and cheese biscuit that is really good! I am also a fan of our spaghetti with meat sauce. Texas toast on the side, too!
Weaver Union School District
District/School/Location: Weaver Union School District, Merced, CA
Number of Students: 2,900 students enrolled in three schools (two elementary and one middle). Two pre-school sites as well.
Number of Staff: 19 total (includes one assistant and three site managers)