Chris Delsordo came to school nutrition from the restaurant world, where he held every position from kitchen manager to general manager to restaurant owner to corporate trainer. Over time the hours began to feel longer, and Delsordo started asking himself, “Am I making a difference?” That’s when he found school nutrition, and began working for Jeffco Public Schools.
“I’ve been working in school nutrition for about six years, starting in a utility position—that’s a sub-manager—and then [moving to] area supervisor. I’m graduating this year with a degree in food management in hospitality from Fort Hayes State University in Kansas, and I’m taking my SNS exam on June 13. I’m trying to learn everything I can; my ultimate goal is to become a director.”
That kind of dedication and work ethic didn’t go unnoticed by Delsordo’s supervisors. David Kroeger is an interim director and project manager at Jeffco, and it was he who submitted Delsordo’s name for the First Timer award.
“He’s involved, he’s getting his degree, he’s taking the SNS exam at our state show in June—he was going to do it in San Antonio, but our schedule was changed and our flight doesn’t work—he helps me do menu plans, back house setup for our software system, he’s doing a salad bar roll-out—Chris has just really stepped up, really helped,” said Kroeger.
Looking ahead to ANC, Delsordo has his eye on director-level education sessions, and the networking opportunities the conference presents.
“I like classes, and learning, so I am looking forward to the education sessions,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to meeting other school nutrition professionals. It’s interesting to see how other people run their districts; you can get great ideas from other districts to take home and try in your own program.”
Kroeger agrees that director-level education sessions are a good place for Delsordo to focus his attention, but says that exposure to other SNA members working in districts similar in size to Jeffco will be a huge asset.
“We have a fairly large district, with 150 schools, and so that networking with schools like ours—or even larger—to see what their challenges are, and how they are working through them, is important,” he shared. “There are these moments [at ANC] where someone shares an idea and you think, ‘That’s so simple, why didn’t we think of that?!’ And then sometimes we can offer someone else an idea that they can turn around and bring back to their school, which is great.”
If you run into Delsordo at ANC, one topic you might want to pick his brain over is salad bars. He just implemented salad bars in four high schools, with plans to grow into more schools next year; the response and turnout have been “amazing” he says.
“The kids have been really positive, and they are so happy to make their own choices. Some of the compliments we get are kind of amazing; you think, ‘Because of a salad bar?’ but they love it. We integrated them into our lines; it took a little time for everyone to get used to it but it’s going well, and it’s amazing what they take. They are considerate about loading up their bowl, we had very minimal waste—it’s great.”