Beverly S. Polk, School Food Services Supervisor for Shenandoah County Public Schools, has more than fifty years of experience in school food service.
Beverly Polk, School Food Services Supervisor for Shenandoah County Public Schools, has been elected the District 2 Regional Director of the School Nutrition Association of Virginia (SNA-VA). She will be installed at the state SNA-VA Conference in March and will officially begin her duties on August 1, 2014.
The School Nutrition Association is a national organization whose vision is “Well-Nourished Students Prepared for Success.” The Virginia affiliate of the SNA wants “to be recognized as the Voice of School Nutrition in Virginia.” Beverly Polk will be the voice representing Region 2, which includes in addition to Shenandoah County, the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Charlottesville, and also Augusta County, Rockingham County, and other surrounding school divisions. Mrs. Polk will be one of eight directors -- each representing one of the eight SNA-VA regions across the Commonwealth.
With the election of Mrs. Polk to their executive board, SNA-VA has acquired a voice from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with over fifty years of experience in school food service programs. This school year of 2013-14 is Mrs. Polk’s fifty-first year in Shenandoah County’s schools. State-level recognition is not new for Mrs.Polk. In the spring of 2012, SNA-VA awarded Beverly a Life-Time Achievement Award for her years of devotion to child nutrition and her contributions to the healthy lives of children.
As School Food Services Supervisor, Beverly Polk is in charge of all aspects of the school nutrition program including personnel, menus, purchasing, equipment, and adherence to federal and state legislation. And, it is Beverly Polk, who must be certain all school cafeterias are “financially sound.” As Mrs. Polk explained, “School cafeterias must be self-supporting.”
"I enjoy all phases of my work, commented Mrs. Polk. "And all aspects of the job are important." Each part contributes to the success of the Food Service program, she explained..
Beverly Polk’s life-time of work in food service began in May 1965 when she began cooking at Edinburg Middle School as a way to supplement the family’s income. She earned $5.00 a day. Within two years, Mrs. Polk had become the cafeteria manager at Edinburg Elementary School and Fort Valley. As the years passed and Mrs. Polk’s expertise in school cafeteria management became apparent, more and more schools were placed under her administration.
Then, in 1982, Superintendent Robert Danley asked her to take on the position of supervisor of what would become a centralized cafeteria system. Beverly Polk accepted that offer and has been working hard, long, productive hours ever since her promotion.
“Oh, my goodness!” exclaimed Beverly Polk as she considered changes in school food service during her tenure.
"One example," she noted, " is that all food service employees are now required to be SafeServ certified." The Health Department requires that only one person where food is served be certified, but we require this certification of all Food Service employees."
There are other changes as well.
| Modifications in the Food Pyramid over the years have impacted school menus with reductions in the amount of fats, carbohydrates, and sodium in school lunches. “More fruits and vegetables must be served,” Mrs. Polk said. And, the USDA has replaced the food pyramid with with MyPlate.
SCPS food service has moved into the 21st century with an
inventory control system and
mySchoolBucks, an online pre-payment software program for parents.
And, as the years pass, more and more locally produced products such as sausage, beef, and apples have been a part of school meals as Shenandoah County increases its participation in the Farm-to-School program
During November 2013, the county’s public school cafeterias served daily an average of 3219 student lunches, 966 student breakfasts, and approximately 113 adult lunches. Mrs. Polk and her staff also cater ten to twelve banquets a year and provide refreshments for many other school functions. Mrs. Polk’s day generally begins at 5:00 AM, and she is on-call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Beverly is a 1958 graduate of Edinburg High School. She has completed courses at Lord Fairfax Community College and must maintain her annual certification as a School Food Services Supervisor through professional development courses.
Beverly and husband Eugene, who are life-long residents of Shenandoah County, live near Edinburg and are the parents of two daughters and five grandchildren. Beverly is active in the Quota Club and her church, St. Luke Lutheran in Woodstock.
And, what about hobbies? How does Mrs. Polk spend her spare time? She laughed when asked about hobbies. While others might call these pursuits work, Beverly Polk considers cooking, baking, canning, and freezing foods her hobbies.
Despite the fact that her profession of fifty years has revolved around food, Beverly Polk loves culinary arts and she loves her work. She has no plans to stop cooking and canning at home, nor does she have plans to retire--great news for Shenandoah County Public Schools and for the School Nutrition Association of Virginia!
Beverly S. Polk