TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Kiski Area food service chief wins state honors

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Meredith Bailey, food service director at Kiski Area School District.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 12:51 a.m.
 

Meredith Bailey says her job as Kiski Area School District's food service director is about more than tater tots.

She is responsible for all aspects of the district's food service operation, including budgeting, purchasing, staffing and training.

She makes sure meals meet complex and changing regulations, and that they taste good, too.

Sometimes, this means giving students food they may not recognize or want to eat — at least not at first.

Bailey is considered a leader and a mentor in her field, and it is for those reasons and more that she has been chosen as director of the year by the School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania.

Bailey, 46, of Burrell Township will be honored at the association's annual conference Aug. 5 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

“Oh my gosh, I was really shocked. I was surprised,” she said. “I was really happy. It's a real honor, and I'm just very proud of it.”

As a state winner, she is a finalist for the School Nutrition Association's national director of the year award. The winner will be chosen in July, said Susan Meadows, president of the Pennsylvania association.

“She goes above and beyond,” said Meadows, food service manager for the Cumberland Valley School District. “She has worked really hard for all the kids of Pennsylvania, not only for her school district but for the state. She's lobbied in Washington, and has worked really hard for everyone.”

A native of Johnstown, Bailey has been food service director at Kiski Area since 2001.

“Mrs. Bailey is an outstanding ambassador for our district,” Superintendent John Meighan said. “Not only does she manage an excellent and creative program for our students, she is recognized for her contributions on a state (level) and, through her lobbying efforts, even a national level. I am proud to have her on our team.”

Bailey was previously food service director at Karns City Area School District for two years, and before that worked in the health care field for 10 years.

Bailey said she got “burned out” working in nursing homes and moved to schools for a much-needed change.

In April, Kiski Area served 47,000 lunches and nearly 15,000 breakfasts at its schools.

“I like it because it's challenging and things are always changing. It's never the same. Every day is something new going on,” she said. “One day you may be in the kitchen trying different foods, and the next day you're calling legislators about addressing issues that affect the school.

“It's more than just tater tots,” she said “It's very challenging, and it's not for everyone.”

Bailey is a past officer of the Pennsylvania association, including president, and has taught others, said Tricia Wood, a member of the group's board of directors and director at South Fayette School District.

“She's really involved with the legislative part,” Wood said. “She's always involved in the details.

“That's where the leadership part comes in. She's the go-to person for information. When there's changes in regulations she's the one filling everyone in.”

Bailey credited both Kiski Area and her family for supporting her. Bailey and her husband, Ken, have two sons, ages 21 and 6.

“I love it,” Bailey said. “I wouldn't go into any other profession.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read AlleKiski Valley

  1. Multiple delays to slow travel between Alle-Kiski Valley, Greensburg
  2. USW workers to march on ATI headquarters
  3. HBO to end ‘Banshee’ series, disappointing Vandergrift
  4. High-rise medical visits aimed at curbing 911 calls in New Kensington
  5. Zelienople development to be inclusive of those with autism
  6. Judge lets New Kensington Ten Commandments monument stand
  7. ATI workers retire early to ensure pension
  8. Crash ties up traffic at Routes 380 and 286 in Murrysville
  9. Freeport to address sewage bill deadbeats
  10. U.S. Open parking fee to go to Oakmont recreation board