Grew up in: White Plains, New York
Job Title/Organization or Company: Teacher- School Wellness Coach, NYC DOE Office of School Wellness Programs
Background and Education: I started teaching 14 years ago, my first 6 years were in East Harlem, where I was an elementary school teacher and began creating school wellness programs, from a school-wide snack policy in collaboration with the NYC DOHMH, edible school garden, parenting wellness workshops and the creation of our School Wellness Council, cooking classes and more. I was able to focus on creating programs and policies that met the needs of our students and the school community. I then moved to be a founding staff member of a new school in Brooklyn, where wellness and sustainability were at the heart of the school’s mission. I started as the Magnet Coordinator for two years and then taught wellness as a cluster subject for grades Pre-K-5, where we focused on school food, food policy, sustainability, school gardens, local produce, family workshops, cooking, advocacy and more. After ten years of teaching in the classroom, I joined the Office of School Wellness Programs to support teachers, administration, school staff, and students around starting School Wellness Councils where they could advocate and work towards wellness change in their schools.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Broken
Food policy hero: Alice Waters- When I read (and then later visited) about her work with local school gardens, I knew I could do this in NYC as well. Despite the massive land and space in California, I knew this could be done here in NYC and did it in both the schools I worked in and now advocate for this work with schools across the city. I also got to meet her after a lecture at Stone Barns and share some of the work I have done. Also Michael Pollen- I used to have my students illustrate his book “Food Rules.” Nothing like a great crayon drawing illustrating food rules. 🙂
Your breakfast this morning: Homemade sourdough with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.