Susan Nelson (M.Ed. '15) is focused on good food.
As the school nutrition director for Baldwin County Schools, she studiously collects and analyzes data related to agriculture, locally grown food, farming and nutrition and how it connects to the lessons and lives of the students she serves. Recently, her work paid off, with the district winning the platinum level of the Golden Radish Award for its incorporation of local agriculture into aspects of school life.
For the past two years, the district has won the gold level of the award—which is sponsored by the state's Department of Education, Department of Agriculture and Department of Public Health, as well as Georgia Organics and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. To win platinum-level status, schools must integrate farming into the school environment in 10 different ways throughout the year, including locally grown items on breakfast and lunch menus, conducting taste tests, field trips to farms, hosting cooking activities and incorporating farm-related topics into curricula.
Nelson received her degree online from the University of Georgia College of Education in adult education (now learning, leadership and organization development). She told the Macon Telegraph that there's much more to school nutrition than just serving two meals a day.
"I think often teachers and parents and just the public in general just look at us as a place where you can come get your lunch. But there's a lot more that goes into that," Nelson said. "You can really tie it around everything."
Related links: Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy