In her 30th year of service, Linda Amundsen, food service manager at the high school and middle school, feels it has gone so fast.
“I’ve been fueling students for three decades! Nutrition is a key factor to learning, and feeding students is my passion,” said Linda.
Linda got her start in food service in 1993 when she was looking for a part-time gig close to her home. A spot on the food service team opened up and she hasn’t looked back since.
“I wanted to stay at St. Anthony - New Brighton Schools because of the school, staff and students who went here – it’s been a rewarding experience,” Linda said.
Having served students for over 30 years, Linda has learned what it means to be of service in trying and difficult times. However, Linda and her team have always served students despite nail biting situations where they were short of an item or when things didn’t go according to plan.
“You need to be able to change in the moment and be flexible,” Linda said. “Even when it seemed like things weren’t going to work out, we pulled through and made sure each student was fed.”
Reflecting on the past, Linda said that the district has made more equitable choices for students who come from all different backgrounds and allergies. A complete revamp of the menu in 2010 came along with the new building renovation which completely changed the kitchen layout. The new layout increased the size of the kitchen and created some separation between the cooks and the students.
Most recently over the past 7 years, the food service team has taken on Farm to School, a government-funded program that brings local, fresh vegetables and fruits and other foods to schools. Minnesota Thursdays is also popular for students who want to experience foods from different cultures like sambusas, chicken yassa, and many others and it has been a huge hit.
“Linda creates a culture in her kitchen that makes staff feel like an important member of the kitchen family,” said Angie Richey, nutrition services supervisor. “She is a reliable leader who is a true champion for children's nutrition, ensuring that no child goes hungry on her watch.”
Although there are common challenges like hiring and retaining employees, lunch has always gone on. A few times Linda and her team would laugh and say ‘We did it!’ even when it felt there wasn’t an end in sight.
“Just being a staff member here has been the most rewarding part. I really do work with a team that puts their best foot forward,” Linda said.
So, 30 years later, and Linda isn’t thinking of ending it anytime soon. As a caring, professional and fair leader, we’re incredibly proud of her passion for providing high quality food and treating each student as if they were her own child.
Linda works with an amazing team who works hard to support each other every day and Linda would like to personally thank each and every one for their dedication to child nutrition.
Thank you food service for being leaders who are Ever Brighter in how they prepare and show up for students.