Dan Westmoreland [Photo credit: Oxford School District]
Oxford, Mississippi (April 13, 2017)—School cafeteria manager Dan Westmoreland’s passion for food service shines when he does what he loves the most in Oxford schools. His drive and team-oriented leadership, coupled with 25-plus years of stellar food service expertise, are why Oxford school officials chose Westmoreland as the new director for the Oxford School District (OSD) Child Nutrition Department.
Westmoreland—who will lead the district’s future efforts in nourishing Oxford school students while helping school cafeterias continue to flourish—will take the helm as director on June 1, 2017. Westmoreland will pick up where Tim Howington, current child nutrition director, leaves off before he retires at the end of this school year.
Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey said that Westmoreland’s vision for the district’s school cafeteria experience and overall dedication and enthusiasm for school nutrition are what will move the program into the top ranks as one of the best programs in the state.
“Dan’s vision for nourishing our children and making our child nutrition department the best in the region is what will take our program to the next level,” said Harvey.
Westmoreland says his plans to improve the child nutrition program include placing more scratch cooking—less heat-and-serve items and more fresh, traditional, yet healthy recipes—in school cafeteria kitchens. He says he will also have a more hands-on approach in school cafeterias: after all, he believes that investing in food service industry employees is the best investment that can be made.
Ultimately, he would like to make the OSD Child Nutrition Department a self-sustaining operation and the top program in the state of Mississippi. His background in managing multiple food service facilities, training staff, and his supervisory experience in high-impact environments have primed him for the new director position he will start in June.
“What I love about the food service business is investing in the people and in the industry,” said Westmoreland. “Having a hands-on approach in our school cafeterias, to be in the trenches, and help our staff be the best at what they do every day in the lives of our students is a major part of what I plan to do.”
Westmoreland believes that good nutrition leads to good education. In his new position, he will work closely with the Good Food for Oxford Schools Program, where he says the program “gets students to live it”—living and making nutritional choices in school. Also, the breakfast-on-the-go and breakfast-in-the-classroom initiatives will continue to thrive because students are actively participating in them. He says the positive experiences allow students to gain the nutrition needed to perform at their best while in school.
As cafeteria manager at Oxford High School, the most current position he held prior to his announcement as the new child nutrition director, he incorporated changes which offered students more mealtime selections by simply incorporating a potato bar, “grab and bolt” sandwiches and the option of four entree selections instead of two.
“The whole idea is to get the students nutrients they need to learn in the form of a healthy, nutritious meal,” he said.
Westmoreland also served in the cafeteria manager position at Della Davidson Elementary School, which was named the top performing school cafeteria in the district under his leadership. Cafeteria manager duties he performed daily while at both schools include managing cafeteria staff, employee training, menu building, and overseeing all aspects of the school cafeteria—food, operating supplies, cleaning and marketing.
Westmoreland’s professional background includes food service operations, human resources, marketing, budgeting, market development, management training and information technology. He has won top sales, top profit and human resource awards in previous managerial positions he has held in the food service industry. He says he is ready to take the same passion and drive to accomplish his goals and do the same things for the child nutrition program.
“I am ready to go to work and make the district’s child nutrition department the #1 program of its kind in the state of Mississippi,” he said.
For more information on child nutrition within the Oxford School District, visit the program online at www.oxfordsd.org/childnutrition.