2022 Annual Conference Educational Sessions
USDA Key Areas


Friday, April 22 - 8:30 – 9:30 AM

First Timer's Session
Room 102

Sheila Cooper - Manager Trainer, Coffee County School Nutrition
David Pearson - Director of Sales / Partner, Pace Reps    

Get the most out of your first GSNA Annual Conference & Exhibition!
We want you to make the most out of your very first school nutrition conference experience!
Join your fellow newbies for a quick overview of what you can expect to learn, do, and see.

Getting Ready to Cook - Knife Skills & Handling - USDA Key Area Operations - 2100 
Room 105

Michael DuBose - Culinary Specialist - School Nutrition Division/Student & Community Engagement – Georgia Department of Education

Before starting cooking, you must have the right knives for the job. This session will provide knowledge on the essentials of knives. Learn how to handle and hold knives properly, learn common cuts and how to perform cuts safely.   Participants will also learn how to sharpen and care for knives. This session will have a live demo.


Making the Impossible…Possible! - USDA Key Area Communications/Marketing - 4100
Room 204

Erin Doane - Training/Compliance Specialist, Glynn County School Nutrition
Megan Strickland - Dietitian, Glynn County School Nutrition

Mission Possible. Focus on three missions:  Improving presentation, team building, and communication.                

Inspiring Professional Development in Your School Community - USDA Key Area Administration - 3400
Room 205

Dr. Ashley Powell, PhD, RN, SNS – Child Nutrition Director, Auburn City Schools (ALA)

Join us for developing and planning professional development in your school, district level meetings, or district school nutrition meetings with fun, flare, and new ideas.

Friday, April 22 - 9:45 – 10:45 AM

Bend Don't Break - USDA Key Area Administration - 3400
Chatham Ballroom
Ervin Watson, MBA - Managing Partner, Vantage Resource Group, LLC    

We have been in a storm that seemed like it would never end. In "Bend Don't Break", Ervin Watson delivers an interactive presentation that highlights the internal struggles the last couple of years presented but shares insights on what we can do moving out of the storm. The winds will continue to blow but this will help attendees develop a mindset that it is ok to bend to keep yourself from breaking.       


Saturday, April 23 - 12:15 – 12:45 PM

Leadership - USDA Key Area Administration - 3000
Chatham Ballroom
Vanessa Hayes, Director MPA CC SNS – SNP Chief Nutrition Officer, Tift County Schools

In this workshop, attendees will learn and gain tools to excite and enable them to empower their teams through intentional communication.  They will learn that being a great leader requires the ability to serve.  Leadership requires the intention of connection, commitment, and conversations.  This leadership workshop will raise the questions needed to evolve into an extraordinary leader.  Attendees will leave filled with resources and information to help them successfully navigate their leadership journey.

Engaging Stakeholders in School Nutrition - USDA Key Area Communications/Marketing - 4000
Room 101
Kalin Bryan, RD - Nutrition Coordinator – Thomas County Schools

Building relationships with stakeholders is vital to any school nutrition program. By engaging internal and external stakeholders, you can develop support to achieve intended outcomes and/or goals. This presentation will look at how you can collaborate with various individuals, organizations, and businesses to foster connection, confidence, and buy-in for your program’s key initiatives.

Benefits of Employee Onboarding - USDA Key Area Administration (Human Resources and Staff Training) - 3400
Room 102
Amy Lambert, Director of Operations
Anna Dilcher, Café Manager – Cobb County School District

Are you hiring a lot of new team members right now? Do you want to know one of the best ways to retain them? If you think onboarding is only about completing O.N.E. then think again. In this session we will share not only the benefits of effective onboarding but also a few tips and tricks on how to do it with ease. Learn about the roles both the SN office team as well as the Managers play in this process to help make your onboarding process more effective.

Innovative Training Ideas - USDA Key Area Administration (Human Resources and Staff Training) - 3400
Room 105
Chynna Silvernale – Nutrition Director, Brooks County Schools
Learn fun and unique training approaches that you can use with foodservice teams at the start of a new school year and beyond. 

Tips & Tricks for Supper and Summer Programs - USDA Key Areas Operations (2000) Nutrition (1000) Administration (3000)
Room 205
Danielle Freeman – Executive Director of School Nutrition, Douglas County Schools

This session will help give best practices utilized to accomplish a successful summer and supper program.  Rules to follow and ideas that will help with planning future special programs.

The 10 Principles of Staff Management - USDA Key Area Administration (Program Management) 3200
Room 204
April Cox, Compliance Coordinator, Hall County School Nutrition

Calling all managers! The 10 Principles of Staff Management will lead you in the right direction whether you are new to managing a kitchen and need tips to get started, or a seasoned manager that just needs a reboot.

Saturday, April 23 - 1:00 – 2:15 PM

Keeping the Conversation Going: GaDoe SNP SY 22-23 Update - USDA Key Area Administration 3000
Oglethorpe Auditorium
Dr. Linette Dodson, RD, LD, SNS, FAND -State Director, School Nutrition Division Georgia Department of Education
Lydia Martin, Compliance Specialist, School Nutrition Division Georgia Department of Education
Stephanie Taylor, Compliance Specialist, School Nutrition Division Georgia Department of Education
Teresa Stevenson, Procurement Specialist, School Nutrition Division Georgia Department of Education
Michael DuBose, Culinary Specialist, School Nutrition Division Georgia Department of Education

This session is a question-and-answer session focused on three program areas: operations, procurement, and culinary support. Hear from our state agency specialists responses to questions submitted to the state agency in these three areas.

Saturday April 23 - 1:00 – 1:30 PM

Connect with Your Legislator and Make Your Voice Heard! - USDA Key Area Communication/Marketing 4100 
Chatham Ballroom
Nancy Rice, MEd, RDN, LD, SNS – GSNA Legislative Liaison, The Nancy Rice Group
Peggy Lawrence, SNS - Executive Director, Rockdale County School Nutrition Program

When you get a request to contact your elected official about an important issue affecting school nutrition, do you freak out and break into a cold sweat? Do not worry - lots of people do. Come to this session and learn tips and tricks as to how to connect with your member of the Georgia Legislature and your member of Congress with complete ease and confidence!

Emergency Preparedness - USDA Key Area Administration (Program Management) 3200  
Room 101
Onetha Bonaparte, ED.S.  – Director of School Nutrition – Savannah Chatham County Public Schools

To-do lists of actions that will incorporate any disaster that affects the normal operation of the school nutrition program, from natural disasters to power outages.

Differences Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting – How to Use Effectively and Efficiently for Food Safety - USDA Key Area Operations 2000

Room 102
Jan Arms – SFSPac® Program Director, PortionPac Chemical Corporation

Proper sanitation is an essential foundation for food safety.  Sanitizers and disinfectants are regulated by the EPA and the sanitization process is regulated by the FDA in the Model Food Code. Attendees will learn the EPA’s definitions of cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection and where they should/should not be used. They will also learn tips for more focused sanitation and priority areas that should be addressed each serving day.


Pieces of the Puzzle – School Nutrition Finance - USDA Key Area Administration (Financial Management) 3300
Room 105
Cheryl Jones – School Nutrition Director, Hall County Schools
Sandy Entrekin – Trainer, Hall County Schools
April Cox - Compliance Coordinator, Hall County Schools

Want to learn all the pieces of the school nutrition finance puzzle? You will not want to miss this fun session. Please be sure to bring your cell phones for our Kahoot game!!

Saturday, April 23 - 1:45 – 2:15 PM

Planning Successful Professional Learning & Development - USDA Key Area Administration (Human Resources and Staff Training) 3400
Chatham Ballroom
Dr. Dana Bing - Nutrition Services Assistant Director, Richmond County Schools

Providing professional learning “pointers” to improve the potential for quality training!

Kitchen Organization & Staff Management - USDA Key Area Administration (Program Management) 3200
Room 101

Melissa McConkey - Manager, Food and Nutrition Services -Cobb County School District

Building work schedules from scratch designed to support good communication with your team as well as make cross training, job covering, and job rotation easy peasy lemon squeezy

Benefits of an Active Association Membership - USDA Key Area Communications 4000
Room 102
James “J. Bear” Bryant – Manager, Houston County School Nutrition Program

This session will give insight on how being an active member can increase your knowledge on what the association has to offer.


Your Cafeteria Upgrade is an Important Piece of the Puzzle! - USDA Key Area Administration (Facilities and Equipment Planning) 3500 
Room 105
Kneeland Wright – Sales Design Representative – Palmer Hamilton

This presentation will help you understand how cafeteria design elements like art, color and seating combine to impact behavior, noise levels AND increased participation in the cafeteria.


Equipment 101 USDA Key Area Administration (Facilities and Equipment Planning) 3500
Room 204
Claudia Harry – Sales, The Hansen Group
Get a preview on the 2022 Equipment Academy as well as information on the ins and outs of equipment purchasing.

Reimbursement to the Max - USDA Key Area Nutrition (Menu Planning) 1100
Room 205
Will McWhirter, MBA, RDN, SNS - Manager of Youth Wellness - The Dairy Alliance

Maintaining financial stability for School Nutrition Services requires creativity. Take your reimbursement to the max with The Dairy Alliance’s innovative milk and yogurt programs. We will share specifics on increasing participation, boost consumption of nutritious dairy, and foster great relationships with students and staff. Learn from the success stories of schools that have taken their reimbursement to the max!