NEW YORK, April 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Urban School Food Alliance (Alliance), a coalition of the largest school districts in the United States, has named Dr. Katie Wilson as its first executive director. Dr. Wilson, who formerly served as Deputy Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition and Consumer services at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and as Executive Director of the Institute of Child Nutrition, officially takes the helm this month.
"I am honored to work with this esteemed group of professionals who have spent their careers dedicated to the health and well-being of our nation's children," said Dr. Wilson. "School meals play a critical role in a child's ability to fully participate and succeed in the classroom, impacting their ability to contribute to society in the future. Using the strength of the Urban School Food Alliance, we will work to ensure that the quality and accessibility of those meals is never diminished."
Member school districts of the Urban School Food Alliance (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade, Orange County [Orlando], Broward County [Fort Lauderdale], Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston) share best practices and leverage their purchasing power to continue to drive school food quality up and costs down while incorporating sound environmental practices. They collectively provide their nearly 3.3 million students access to much needed healthy meals for improved health and academic success.
"We're excited to welcome Dr. Wilson to the Urban School Food Alliance," said Michael Rosenberger, chairman of the Alliance and executive director of Food and Child Nutrition Services at Dallas Independent School District. "Her knowledge about the school food industry, her influence and her undying passion for childhood nutrition will further advance the already groundbreaking work of the Alliance when it comes to providing healthy and delicious meals to students."
Members of the Alliance are familiar with Dr. Wilson's body of work in school nutrition. Her office at the USDA oversaw school food funding and regulations and worked closely with many of the Alliance food service directors. Before the USDA, Dr. Wilson served as Executive Director at the Institute of Childhood Nutrition, the only federally funded national center dedicated to applied research, education and training and technical assistance for child nutrition programs. She also knows firsthand the challenges of school food service having served as a food service director at various school districts in her home state of Wisconsin.
The Alliance conducted a national search with support from FoodCorps (a national nonprofit that connects kids to healthy food in school) and the nonprofit environmental group, Natural Resources Defense Council. The Alliance received more than 200 applications for the position. Board members spent months doing research and talking with candidates before hiring Dr. Wilson.
The Alliance looked for a business-minded professional to lead the development and the implementation of the organization's strategic initiatives. The group's new executive director will be challenged to deliver organization and partnership development to amplify the effectiveness and visibility of the Alliance with key audiences in education, government as well as the philanthropic sector. Dr. Wilson will serve as the Alliance's public voice and will play a critical role in advancing the health and sustainability of school meals in Alliance districts and beyond.
About the Urban School Food Alliance
The Urban School Food Alliance was created by school food professionals in 2012 to address the unique needs of the nation's largest school districts. The nonprofit group allows the districts to share best practices and leverage their purchasing power to continue to drive quality up and costs down while incorporating sound environmental practices. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade, Orange County (Orlando), Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston together offer service to nearly 3.3 million children daily. This translates to more than 584 million meals a year. The coalition aims to ensure that all public school students across the nation receive healthy, nutritious meals through socially responsible practices. To learn more about the Urban School Food Alliance or to support its work, please visit www.urbanschoolfoodalliance.org.
SOURCE Urban School Food Alliance