The national, non-profit School Nutrition Association has awarded Beth Freeman from C. Milton Wright High School in Harford County Public Schools the regional Louise Sublette Award of Leadership Excellence in School Nutrition, considered the highest honor a school nutrition manager can earn.

The award recognizes a manager who has demonstrated dedication and ingenuity by successfully implementing a project to improve his or her school meal program.

Freeman significantly strengthened her school's breakfast program, which had extremely low participation in previous years. After finding that most students ride the bus to school and arrive with only 20 minutes to spare before the first period begins, Freeman revamped her breakfast to center around speed. She changed the menu to include hot and cold menu items and added a "Grab & Go" line to make sure students were not missing breakfast because of time constraints. Freeman also held sample tastings to get students to try the new menu items and implemented a "Red Carpet Academy Award" theme for breakfast, complete with costumes, decorations and fun games like "guess the movie quote," to make the environment fun and encourage students to return.

"This award highlights the best in creative thinking and effective planning by school nutrition managers to implement projects that directly benefit students," said Sandra Ford, SNS, president of the School Nutrition Association. "Beth has shown tremendous commitment to her students and is an inspiring example of a dedicated school nutrition professional."

The annual award is in memory of Louise Sublette, a leader in school nutrition in Tennessee and in the national School Nutrition Association. During her 43 years in the profession, Sublette worked in many areas of food service - public schools, colleges, hospitals and elderly feeding programs. Sublette dedicated her career to honoring school nutrition professionals and ensuring those who work in school cafeterias have access to professional development opportunities, empowering them to help their school meal programs flourish.

In July, Freeman will be honored during the awards ceremony at the School Nutrition Association's annual national conference in Kansas City, MO.