Fairfax County Public Schools Director of Food and Nutrition Receives ADA Medallion Award
Penny McConnell, director of food and nutrition services for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), has been named one of eight recipients of the American Dietetic Associationâ€™s (ADA) Medallion award for 2011.
The award recognizes individuals who have advanced the dietetics profession, exhibited leadership, and shown devotion to serving others in dietetics and allied fields.
Under McConnellâ€™s guidance, FCPS was named the School Nutrition Associationâ€™s 2010 District of the Year and earned Keys to Excellence exemplary status.Â Â She has been instrumental in promoting student wellness through the 9-5-2-1-0 program; introducing more whole-grain and low-fat food options for students; and participating in the Virginia Farm to School program, increasing the number of locally-grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables available in Fairfax County schools. She not only directs food service operations for the school system, but is also responsible for providing meals to local day care centers, Meals on Wheels, and elder and adult congregate programs.
McConnell has also provided leadership to developing countries to help them establish nutrition-based school food programs. She serves as chair of an international task force that is responsible for developing curriculum to train community members in Benguela Province, Angola, to operate school food programs, and has co-chaired five Global Nutrition Forums, three of which were international.
McConnell has applied her leadership skills to volunteer organizations, serving as spokesperson for the School Nutrition Association and as president of both the association and its foundation, and has been involved with public policy and legislation. She served a three-year term on the ADAâ€™s commission on dietetic registration and was a member of its house of delegates. McConnell was also instrumental in forming the Northern Virginia district of the Virginia Dietetic Association (VDA). She held numerous elected offices with that organization and has served as its president.
McConnell is a prior recipient of the ADA Excellence in Management Practice award, the USDA Best Practices award, the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association Silver Plate Food Service Operator of the Year award, Food Service Management magazine Best Concept award, and the VDA Virginia Distinguished Dietitian award.
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