Root wins regional award

Debra Root, a nutrition services assistant at Falcon Heights Elementary School, has been named the Midwest regional employee of the year by the nonprofit School Nutrition Association.

The association, with 49 state affiliates, works to ensure children have access to healthy school meals and nutrition education.

Honorees are recognized for their influence in the quality of school meals through customer service, an interest in young people, creativity, participation in professional development among other attributes, according to a School Nutrition Association news release announcing the award.

Root, who has worked for Rose­ville Area Schools (which include Falcon Heights Elementary School) for 27 years, was honored in a virtual event on May 5.

Root earlier was chosen the Minnesota School Nutrition Association state employee of the year, making her eligible for the national honor.

“Debra’s dedication to her students and colleagues makes her an exemplary candidate for this special award,” Minnesota School Nutrition Association President Mary Jo Lange said in a news release. “Her longevity in the field shows her passion for school nutrition and for ensuring that no child in her community goes hungry.”

The state association news release notes Root’s role in taking care of students’ needs, particularly those with special dietary requirements; creating attractive meals for staff; increasing the number of grab-­and-go meals; and emphasizing professional development.

Cigale Ahlquist, Bugle freelance writer. 

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