Malcolm Quillen, president of the Georgia School Nutrition Association, recently presented Peggy Lawrence, director of School Food Services for Rockdale County Public Schools, with the award for GSNA's Director of the Year at its annual conference in Athens.
CONYERS -- One of Rockdale County Public Schools' program directors recently won a state award for her leadership.
The Georgia School Nutrition Association named Peggy Lawrence, director of School Food Services for RCPS, as its Director of the Year at the annual conference in Athens.
"I was completely surprised when the award was announced. I am tremendously honored," Lawrence said. "I feel very fortunate to have a job that I love to do, day after day, year after year. I get up every day excited to come to work. I work with great people in an even better school district."
Lawrence is in her 14th year at RCPS and in her 12th year as director of school nutrition. She worked in Gwinnett County Schools as a cafeteria manager for about two years before coming to RCPS in 1999.
"She is very dedicated to and very passionate about school food nutrition and the impact it has on our students' learning," Phil Budensiek, chief operations officer at RCPS. "Her responsibilities are not a 'job she has to go to' but a calling that she fulfills every day with energy, competence and passion. She is a service focused person with a tremendous love for and dedication to our students, her staff and school nutrition. She is well deserving of this recognition, and I'm so very proud of her and her accomplishments."
GSNA officials said the Director of the Year is accomplished in program enhancement, staff development, school involvement, association involvement and community involvement.
They praised Lawrence for constant monitoring and extensive manager training to bring the Rockdale County program out of poor financial shape when she came on board.
The program, which is a self-supporting fund, has been able to renovate three kitchens because of financial results over the last few years, and three Rockdale County public schools are among 146 schools across the state that were awarded a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for this school year.
The association also applauded her for starting the tradition of RCPS celebrating National School Lunch Week, which allows for school and community leaders to serve alongside other nutrition staff. They also enjoy the fact that 38 percent of her staff members are ServSafe certified.
GSNA also noted that she has been president of the fourth district in GSNA, chair of the district presidents and has been designated as spokesperson for SNA in the Southeast for several years.
Her staff said that her biggest contribution is her involvement in everything at the local, state and national levels for school nutrition.
Lawrence will go on to compete on the national level, which will be announced in July at a conference in Denver, Colo.