School meals are about more than just filling empty bellies for the new director of nutrition services for Nelson County Schools.
“Nutrition doesn't just mean the food you put on the table. It means the nutrition of the whole child: body, spirit, mind,” said Michelle Ball, who was hired this week to oversee the cafe services at all schools.
Ball comes to the position from Nelson County High School where she was the business leader for the past year. Prior to NCHS, Ball was a family caretaker for Foster Heights Elementary for four years. Before she joined NCS, Ball spent six years with St. Joseph School as assistant to the principal and four years with a CPA firm in Lebanon.
It was Ball’s experience on the business side that made her the ideal fit, said Jessica Hogue, the outgoing director who was part of the selection committee.
“The business part of the job is often overlooked,” Hogue said. “People think about the nutrition side of it, but our program operates on a $3.5 million budget. You have to have somebody with a business mindset.”
Working with suppliers and contracts and meeting federal requirements are all big parts of the role, Hogue said. Ball has built a reputation in the district at the schools she has worked as someone who can build strong relationships and foster teamwork, which are also vital to leading a department like nutrition services that is dispersed throughout the schools.
“My focus over the next 30-60 days is to listen and learn about all the great programs Jessica already has in place and explore how to evolve those,” Ball said.
“We have great teams at each school and parents should see a seamless transition. Our goal remains the same, to meet the needs of every individual and provide our children with the nutrition that fuels their minds and learning.”