Extra Special

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Suzette Wynne, Kim Dresler and Amy Lamb

Commisary Staff

I’d like to introduce you to three great ladies.

Suzette Wynne, Kim Dresler and Amy Lamb make up the Douglas County School District Nutrition Services Commissary Kitchen team. Every day, including a very early start on Monday, you will find them preparing, mixing and filling your frozen yogurt and smoothie orders. There has not been a day that has gone by that laughter is not heard coming through the break room walls from the production room. This laughter is contagious and makes everyone in the Central Office smile when they hear it. I appreciate their dedication, great attitudes, problem solving skills and their ability to work independently. It is to our advantage to have this team with the ability to produce our own frozen treats at a lower food cost then if we purchased a commercial product. Thank you for your contribution to our department success.

Written by Julie Caughey

Area Manager, DCSD Nutrition Services

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Susan Babineau

Susan Babineau is starting her fifth school year as the Accounting Specialist and Free and Reduced Coordinator for Nutrition Services. Susan has extraordinary customer service skills and a thirst for knowledge that pushes her to continually improve on each of her responsibilities. Her mind is like an encyclopedia- full of interesting facts that she enjoys sharing randomly. When I asked coworkers to describe Susan, the answers were clear. “Susan is tenacious, compassionate, detailed, thorough, specific and helpful.” We are quite fortunate to have Susan on our team!

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Pamalla Dolan


Pamalla Dolan has had a very busy August and now September. Pam is our Kitchen Manager at Bear Canyon Elementary (BCE). She as well wonderfully volunteered to step in as interim Kitchen Manager at Ranch View Middle School (RVMS). She will be doing both jobs through October. Pam has shown extreme resilience in balancing these two positions. We all know that our kitchens are very busy as we open for a new school year, so this balancing act has been demanding of her attention and her time. Pam shows not only poise, but patience and humor. Whether she is zip lining at the Kitchen Manager Boot Camp, or trying to figure out why the KRONOS clock swipes her in as 6:30 p.m. instead of 6:30 a.m. every morning, she shows her fun loving personality and is a pleasure to be with. Pam should be commended for all that she brings to us, each and every day!

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Jen Green

Recently, I had the opportunity to go out to Mountain View Primary and work with Jen Green and her staff. Mountain View use to be one of my schools when I was an Area Manager and I have fond memories of the previous kitchen staff and the relationships they had built with their school community. So it was great to see when I came to visit the “new” crew, that Jen has carried on the same tradition. Although I would have liked to have spent more time with Jen and her kitchen assistant Jamie, while I was there, I could tell they had their systems down. They were like a well-oiled machine serving up lunch and smiles to all the kids. (I think I was the only one stressed in there because I didn’t know where to find things!)

One of the things that really impressed me about Jen was the reason why I was at the school to begin with. Going back to the relationships we build within our schools, Jen was asked to offer some information about our department at the School Accountability Committee (SAC) meeting, and in turn, asked if we could help provide her with talking points. After discussing the timing of it, we decided I would come out and present the department information, but she (on her own) decided to prepare school lunch for the meeting and present the items she was serving. What a great way for this group of parents, staff, and community members to taste some of the great things we are serving their kids. What she prepared and presented was amazing. They loved the Popcorn Chicken and Pretzel Bosco as much as the kids, and the roasted fingerling potatoes were a hit!

When I see managers like Jen going above and beyond their daily routines to be a part of their school community and promote the great things they do, it reminds me what an amazing group of people we have in Nutrition Services. Great job Jen!

Written by:

Amy Faricy

Manager of Menu Services

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Carrie Grant-McDonald & Pamela Comstock

When we write about an extra special person, it is usually a singular person. I am not able to do that when looking at Larkspur Elementary. Carrie Grant-McDonald and Pamela Comstock are an amazing team that work together so cohesively, it’s as if they have been working together far longer than one year!

Carrie is the Kitchen Manager at Larkspur. This is her first Kitchen Manager position with the District and has been there a little over a year. Within that timeframe, Carrie has immersed herself not only in learning her new role, but also in being a part of the Larkspur Elementary community. Carrie saw a need for the kindies to learn their student numbers. She created an “Apple Tree” poster board. Each apple has the student’s name and student number on it. The kindies grab their apple from the apple tree and use this to practice putting their numbers in at the register. Carrie also reached out to the school to see where they had a need for volunteers with the students. Carrie now volunteers in the 1st grade classroom. She works with the students to learn their site words. She is an incredibly kind and patient person and the children love her!

Pamela is the Kitchen Assistant at Larkspur. Pamela has been our rock in that kitchen for many years! She has seen managers rotate through the kitchen and has always graciously welcomed those new managers all the while being incredible resource for them as they learn the nuances at Larkspur. Pamela always greets the students with a smile and knows them all by name. The students are always sharing their personal stories with her whether it be what they did last weekend, how they played in a sport, etc… Pamela also has a special friend, Nicholas. Nicholas has autism and approached Pamela at the beginning of the school year because the noise level in the cafeteria was too much for him. He asked, “Can I eat in here with you?” Now, Nicholas will join Pamela in his special little spot in the kitchen, to eat his lunch quietly, and have his private conversations with her. It is adorable to watch them together.

Now you see why I write about this amazing kitchen team. They continually go above and beyond to positively impact the lives of their students and community. Thanks for all you do Carrie and Pamela. You are truly Extra Special!

Written by Dawn Kidd, Area Manager

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Cecil Morgan-Brooks

Cecil Morgan-Brooks has been my at-large substitute for over a year now. In that time, he has been hard to miss, not only because he is NOT vertically challenged but also because he is always there when we need him. Cecil has been an invaluable asset to my team as well as other Area Managers’ teams in many critical times.

What most stands out to me with Cecil is his unwavering, can-do, positive attitude. He is always ready and willing to help when and wherever needed without anything but a thank you to me for giving him his assignment for the day. He has decades of foodservice experience which lends to his unflappable nature and is always willing to share his knowledge if people ask. He is remarkably kind and provides wonderful customer service to all he encounters.

Where Cecil has been especially vital in our department is in his ability to manage kitchens when we have had lengthy gaps in kitchen manager coverage. Last spring, he began managing Sedalia Elementary School until a new kitchen manager was hired this fall (managing for over four months). His willingness to help and learn how to do production, inventory, and run the site without missing a beat has not gone unnoticed. He was happy to fill in at Sedalia even though it was not one of my schools. It does not matter to him; his interest is to help out wherever needed no matter where it is in our district. The other Area Managers and I am grateful to him beyond measure for this help!

Cecil, thank you for being a bright light in our department and making a big difference for us no matter where you are and what role you are in. We are lucky to have you on our team!

Written by:

Kasja Larson, RD, SNS

DCSD Nutrition Services Area Manager

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Tara Johnson

In the short time I have gotten to know Tara, she has made such a positive impact in my group of schools and deserves recognition for it! Due to unforeseen circumstances one of my managers has been unable to work for the last few weeks. Tara graciously agreed to help manage this school along with her own. As you can imagine, taking on another site requires a tremendous amount of time and excellent time management skills. Tara jumped right into it and has managed the daily operations at both places with a smile on her face. Also, not only did Tara agreed to manage the daily operations at the additional school, she even trained staff, organized the cooler and freezer, and helped the site to be ready for a site review. I am very thankful for Tara and her amazing ability to manage two school sites and make it look so easy!   

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Diana Caliz

Meet Diana Caliz and her staff from RCHS, Assistant Manager Angela Evans, Kitchen Assistants Maria Mendez, Raida Al-Samarda, Hsiu-Ping Lin, Brenda Clark, Deborah Ferguson, Pam Leung, and At-Large Charla Stewart. Together they have worked hard this year to increase sales and for the first time ever in the district have Subway sales exceed ten thousand in one week, not only once but twice! WOW! To celebrate Diana and her staff’s achievement Brent has started the Subway $10,000 club. December 18th we enjoyed breakfast at Snooze and presented Diana and her staff with a trophy. Please join me in congratulating Diana Caliz and the Rock Stars at RCHS!

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MVHS

 I would like to say a big thank you to a special group of people on their DIY project at MVHS. Sarah King, Niki Thomas, and Kryn Skarda became interior decorators before the start of this school year. They painted and made decorations behind their serving lines, creating a warm and friendly customer service area for our kids and staff. Their energy amazes me, and their creations show their commitment and pride in the workplace. This was not a job waiting to be done...it was a passion for working together. I see this in the entire staff at MVHS. Thank you to Sarah, Niki and Kryn, as well as to the entire staff for supporting each other in a job that is wonderfully done!    

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Janet Endersbee

Janet Endersbee, Kitchen Manager at Academy Charter School

Janet’s first year with Nutrition Services was 1998. She started as a kitchen assistant and eventually was promoted to a kitchen manager. Although she is quiet, she is mighty. Janet is currently the Kitchen Manager at Academy Charter School (ACS) in Castle Rock. ACS is one of our limited equipment charter schools and a two-person kitchen. Janet is able to average over 200 meals per day in a kitchen equipped with one small square countertop oven (which cooks 5 half sheet pans at one time only), steamer, hot plate and steam table. She has mastered the timing of how to get food cooked and ready for her students with the limited equipment she has in her kitchen.

On Wednesdays, I can find her playing “Tetris” with her frozen food. It truly is a puzzle on how to fit her frozen delivery into her wall freezers. But she gets it done!

Everyone that works with her, from her school administration to the warehouse delivery person, has the same thing to say about Janet: “She is a delightful person.” And she is. Janet always has a smile on her face and joy in her heart. It is a pleasure to work with her!

Written by:

Dawn Kidd

Area Manager 

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Leandra Penley

Kitchen Manager Sage Canyon Elementary

Meet Leandra Penley,

Leandra has been with Douglas County School District Nutrition Services for five years. Currently she is the Kitchen Manager at Sage Canyon Elementary in Castle Rock. Leandra has been continually willing to help facilitate training of new and current kitchen staff, from kitchen assistants to kitchen managers. She is able to help someone new to the department or just help an established employee brush up on any skills needed from production to inventory. She is always willing to lend a hand! I love going to Sage Canyon! Leandra and her kitchen assistants, Marty Pooley and Catherine Macinnes have created such a positive environment. They always have a smile on their faces and are welcoming everyone to their kitchen! I am excited to have Leandra back on my team and look forward to working with her for many years to come!

Written by Lisa Sronce, Area Manager

DCSD Nutrition Services

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Troy Seurer

Troy Seurer has been a member of our Nutrition Service team since 2016. In this short time, Troy has proven himself to be a natural with Warehouse Delivery and the in's and out's that come with the warehouse delivery position. Many of you may know Troy for his positive, out-going, and energized attitude while out making deliveries. Troy has taken on a leadership role in the warehouse on more than one occasion, by filling in my absence. Troy's high energy and willingness to take on tasks make him a very special person in the Nutrition Service Warehouse. Troy lives in Castle Rock with wife Tracie. Their newly adopted rescue dog, Snickers, occupies a lot of their time. Many of you may not know that Troy is also a professional artist, and he has been painting and showing his art for many years. His focus is on western art and oil portraits of those from the past. Troy also dabbles in modern art and many other forms of abstract art. I'm grateful each day that I have such a great warehouse team. Troy has been a very positive addition to the professional group we have assembled over the years. I want to thank Troy for his contributions to our Nutrition Service warehouse team.Written by: Greg Morton, Warehouse Foreman, DCSD Nutrition ServicesExtra Special Person: Troy Seurer

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Mia Sarlo

Kitchen Assistant-Eagle Ridge Elementary

Mia Sarlo is a kitchen assistant at Eagle Ridge Elementary. She has been with our school district for almost four years. Over the last six months I have been this school's area manager. During this time, Mia has been very helpful when the kitchen manager was absent. She has immediately volunteered to come in early and cover for breakfast. Every time I need to make adjustments and ask Mia for help, she is always open to change and to helping out in anyway she can. She has taken the time to learn how to open and close, complete end of day paperwork, cook, and help all around. When I am at Eagle Ridge, Mia is always positive and caring, and it shows through her work.

Thank you Mia for your hard work and willingness to help out anytime it is needed. Written by: Lucie Perez, MS Area Manager, DCSD Nutrition Services