Beverly Polk, School Food Services Supervisor for Shenandoah County Public Schools, was presented the 2012 School Nutrition Association of Virginia’s Lifetime Achievement Award on March 10, 2012, at the Association’s state conference. The award was a “happy surprise” to Polk, who is in her 49th year as an employee of Shenandoah County Public Schools.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is given annually to someone who has “devoted a lot of years to child nutrition and substantially contributed to the healthy lives of children” said Gerald Lehman, Director of Food Service for Rockingham County Schools. He and Andrea Early, School Nutrition Director for Harrisonburg City Schools, nominated Beverly Polk for this “Lifetime” recognition.
Early wrote, “Beverly continues to be an inspiration to me as a director. Her work ethic is beyond compare and her forward thinking and ability to adapt to charge are qualities that I admire very much.” Her nomination letter listed Beverly’s annual staff development workshops, her Serv-Safe certification for new employees, her many changes to school menus well in advance of the new meal patterns, her work with local farmers and producers to support the farm-to- school program, and her implementation of an inventory control system and a meal pre-payment system. The nomination letter concluded, “Beverly never stops looking for ways to make improvements to an already excellent food service program. “
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.”
Beverly began her career in Shenandoah County during the 1966-67 school year as a cafeteria worker at Edinburg Middle School. She soon became a cafeteria manager for both Edinburg and Fort Valley. Carl Plum, Principal at Central, added Central High School and WW Robinson Elementary to her agenda. By this time, it had become apparent that Polk had the business expertise to turn school cafeterias, which were in trouble financially, into self-supporting operations. Recognizing that ability, Bob Danley, Superintendent, added a few more schools to her list. Then in 1979, he 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 hours ever since her promotion.
Beverly and husband Eugene have been married for almost 53 years. They are the parents of two daughters and grandparents of five grandchildren. The Polks have always lived in Shenandoah County, Virginia.