RELEASE: Six Texans Welcomed into No Kid Hungry School Breakfast Hall of Fame

March 4, 2020

Contact: Mia Medina, mmedina@strength.org

Austin, Texas – No Kid Hungry announced this week their 2020 School Breakfast Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees include educators and administrators from school districts across the country who were nominated by members of their local community for going above and beyond to make school breakfast possible for kids in need.

Of the thirty-two inductees,  six Texans were included in this year’s hall of fame – each of which have worked hard to ensure that kids in their community have access to a nutritious breakfast everyday: 

Savannah Box, General Manager of Child Nutrition Services at Bastrop ISD was nominated by Katie Nye, THI and Mia Medina, No Kid Hungry Texas. Savannah has worked closely with all levels of Bastrop ISD to ensure that students are accessing as many free and nutritious meals as possible every day. With over 500 students that are considered homeless in the district, Savannah has used strategic partnerships, funding, and best practices to increase the free breakfast for all program in every campus. Savannah’s Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab & Go programs have been successful in more than doubling participation at each campus where it is implemented.

Jae Lee, Principal of Burnett Elementary, Pasadena ISD was nominated by John Puder, Texas Hunger Initiative. Jae embraced Breakfast in the Classroom for students who were coming to school in need of breakfast. Leading a campus with over 80% of students qualifying for free/reduced meals, he saw a need to expand breakfast. Jae is so committed to the power of BIC, he has become an advocate among his peers promoting BIC across Pasadena ISD and beyond.

Katina Martinez, Principal of Short Elementary School, Arlington, ISD was nominated by David Lewis, RD, LD, Arlington ISD and Catherine Nicholson, Texas Hunger Initiative. When Katina was given the opportunity to have breakfast in the classroom implemented at her school, she responded enthusiastically telling her staff that would work to overcome any obstacles that came up during implementation. She even worked with the FNS department to set up a breakfast kiosk during school registration so students would know what to expect on the first day of school this year. Since implementing BIC, Short Elementary has seen an increase of over 52% more breakfast served than last year. Ms. Martinez has become an BIC advocate among her colleagues, articulating the benefits the program has had in supporting their efforts to decrease behavioral issues, decrease tardiness, and improve test scores.

Donna Pittenger, R.D., Executive Director of Nutrition and Food Services at Katy ISD was nominated by John Puder, Texas Hunger Initiative. Donna is actively transforming one of the state’s largest school districts by utilizing of Grab-N-Go to the classroom. Through her planning and constructed roll out, Katy ISD is seeing buy-in from administration, teachers and students. Most importantly the transition is paying off with significant growth in breakfast participation.

Lee Ramirez, Principal of Galena Park Middle School, Galena Park ISD was nominated by John Puder, Texas Hunger Initiative. As Galena Park ISD began to convert to alternative breakfast models, Lee embraced maximizing the opportunity to expand breakfast services. With a philosophy of adapting the school to meet students’ needs as opposed to asking students to adapt to the school’s needs, he led a team to create multiple service points of service for students.

Anneliese Tanner, Food Service Director, Austin ISD was nominated by Kathy Green, No Kid Hungry Texas. Since taking over the program at Austin ISD five years ago, Anneliese has gone above and beyond in ensuring that all Austin ISD students receive healthy, scratch-made meals with clean labels and local ingredients. She sees the cafeteria as part of the classroom, and uses that opportunity to teach kids about nutrition and where their food comes from. 

Breakfast is an energy source for kids, but 1 in 7 kids in America lives with hunger and may start the school day on an empty stomach. Research shows that hunger has long-term ramifications on children, including lower test scores, weaker attendance rates, and a higher risk of hospitalizations and chronic diseases. No Kid Hungry and its partners focus on school breakfast as a critical way to end childhood hunger.

Accessing traditional cafeteria breakfast service can be challenging for many kids due to transportation delays, stigma and other barriers. Breakfast after the bell allows students to get breakfast after the school day starts in the classroom or from grab and go carts. This makes breakfast convenient and accessible to students, resulting in more kids starting the day ready to learn

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About No Kid Hungry

No child should go hungry in America. But 1 in 7 kids will face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty. Join us at NoKidHungry.org