Maria Joiner
Cafeteria Assistant Manager
Dixon Intermediate School

Letter of Nomination
Our school has had the honor of selecting our cafeteria Assistant Manager as this year’s School Related Employee of the Year.  Our nominee continuously strives to improve and enhance the dining experience of the students and staff members here at our school.   This recognition is another way the staff has shown their support and recognition of her superior performance.

Our outstanding nominee started her career in the food service industry at Shoney’s in Jacksonville, Florida.  Even at an early age, she was recognized for her talents and became the Dining Room Supervisor.  She was previously awarded the Employee of the Year twice at a local Cracker Barrel.  Of  her 23 years of food service experience, she has worked the last 5 years for Santa Rosa County Schools.  She acknowledges as part of her success, the leadership of her supervisors.  With their direction and encouragement to grow in the food service management system, she applied and was selected as Cafeteria Manager.  As a manager, our nominee emulates all the attributes of a very effective supervisor.  She has fulfilled this position with a very positive, cheerful, and innovative disposition.

This outstanding nominee has been a member of our school staff since August of this school year.  She has made the transition to our school a smooth one for all of us.  Not only does she have a smile and a kind word for all the students and staff, her innovative ideas keep staff, visitors and parents coming back to have lunch.  She has incorporated an ingenious plan to have individual classes become more involved with their experience in the cafeteria.   Students from different classes decorate the top of the food line with holiday themes, birthdays, and class projects.  These classes are recognized by having special treats, such as snacks or featured articles in the local newspaper.  She has initiated various ways to recognize our students and continue to have more students as “winners.” 

Our nominee is a very positive influence is a very positive influence on her staff and the school staff.  She recognizes that if it was not for the co-operation and knowledge of those around her, success would be unfulfilling. She has incorporated an aggressive in-house training plan, where staff members can learn all the positions required and can jump in and assist where needed.  The cafeteria staff is more relaxed, congenial and they work extremely well together in the present environment.  This is a direct influence of our nominee.  Due to the very positive changes, several teachers and staff members have stated that, “This lady is awesome - She goes above and beyond."

Our outstanding nominee is very active in her community, church and family.  Her husband and sons supportive and encourage her to be the best at everything she does.  She will achieve all of the goals she sets for herself and the food service staff members.

Administrator’s Letter of Recommendation
It is with much pride and delight that I recommend our school’s nominee for the 2003 School Related Employee of the Year.  This individual is new to our school, but has had a profound impact on the Food Service program here in such a short amount of time (six months)!  However, her positive impact reaches far beyond the walls of the cafeteria.  She is very active in the community and in her church, as well.  She states, “My mission and ministry is to serve all I can in the manner most pleasing to my creator.”  Obviously, she serves up large portions of caring and love; not just food.  Our nominee is one of those unique individuals who goes the “tenth mile” in helping others and making each one feel he/she is special. 

The ladies she works with have commented often about what a joy it is to work under her leadership.  She considers her work to be a blessing from God and she has been blessed by God with much skill in what she does.  When the word is spread among the staff that a child or family is in need, our nominee looks for ways to help. She has made suggestions to me on numerous occasions about how she and her co-workers could do specific things to address the needs of others and she follows through on these ideas.

Our nominee had much experience in the food service industry before assuming a job with Sodexho.  She worked her way up from a part-time substitute worker position to a food service assistant director role in less than five years working in Santa Rosa schools.  This position to her, is a mission, not just a job.  The students show much affection and love toward our nominee because she has shown that consistently, day to day, to them!  The staff has quickly learned to love and respect her.  This was evidenced recently by the fact that, on her birthday, the staff members decided to surprise her with flowers brought to her from individual staff members that day.  The cafeteria looked like a florist’s shop!  Her humble appreciation was evident in her tears.  In summary, the qualities that make this nominee an excellent candidate for this award are based on job skills to some degree.  However, the greater reason for her nomination has more to do with her personal qualities; qualities of love for others, commitment, selflessness, and dedication to the missions of both Sodexho and the school system.