SNF Scholarship Series: ANC First Timer Tara Scott, Manager, Franklin County School District, Tennessee

Welcome to the 2016 SNF Scholarship Series! We are thrilled to revisit this popular series, in which we connect with your SNA colleagues from around the country to learn more about them and how an SNF scholarship is helping them pursue goals and achieve their dreams. Our First Timer recipients were nominated by a supervising director to attend their first Annual National Conference in San Antonio, Texas. We’ll meet our First Timers and their directors in the weeks leading up to ANC. Please visit the SNA website to learn more about ANC 2016 in San Antonio.

Tara Scott has been working in school nutrition for about five years, and she is incredibly grateful to be attending her very first ANC with the help of a First Timer scholarship. Nominated by her director Melissa Livesay, Scott says the nomination—and win—were a complete surprise.

“Melissa completely surprised me—I had no clue she was submitting my name!” recalled Scott. “When she told me [I won] I was so excited—I cannot wait to go.”

Scott says that Livesay has been a motivational and inspirational leader since becoming director of Franklin County School District in Tennessee three-and-a-half years ago. Under her direction, Scott has taken on new roles and broadened her horizons.

“Melissa really has me more involved, and I like it—I’ve learned so much. I went to Washington D.C. to LAC, and it was a huge eye-opener for me; I really loved it.”

With twenty-five years of school nutrition experience, Melissa Livesay has been a director for almost four years; she was assistant director in another district before coming to Franklin County. She oversees eleven schools, each with their own on-site kitchen and site manager, serving about 5900 kids. Livesay says that while all of her eleven managers are wonderful, she nominated Scott for a First Timer award to encourage her ongoing professional growth and inspire her to take on even more responsibility.

“Tara has such a strong desire to learn and to grow,” said Livesay. “Attending a national conference will boost her self-confidence, get her out of her shell, and it will help her see the ‘big picture’. It’s easy to see yourself as ‘a’ manager in ‘a’ school, but attending ANC will give her the chance to see how big school nutrition really is.”

In terms of her job, Scott says her main passion is cooking, and going into ANC 2016 she will be on the lookout for recipes, and culinary training education.

“My big passion is the culinary part—I cook and bake all the time,” said Scott. “The kids like it when I try new stuff with them. I try to use spices and herbs to enhance flavors, and that’s where I want more information and education.”

In San Antonio, Livesay says she thinks Scott will benefit from networking with peers from around the country. Their creativity will give Scott a boost of energy that Livesay knows will be put to great use once they return to Franklin County.

“Learning best practices from other people, talking to vendors, hearing ideas from other people about what worked—and what didn’t—at their schools, Tara will be all about that in San Antonio,” said Livesay. “She is a sponge. She wants to soak up everything. I think it’s going to be a great learning experience for her. Tara is very receptive to instruction and training, and she’s just a great manager. ANC will be so good for her.”

Scott says she is just a little nervous about the trip—she hates flying, and has her earbuds ready for takeoff!—but that she’s already looking ahead to opportunities post-ANC, and knows her conference experience will help her grow.

“Our culinary class is going to teach at our state conference, and I’m not one for getting up in front of people, but I had to do it at our in-service and I did pretty well!” laughed Scott. “I might just go ahead and try Leadership Academy next.”

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