Detroit Public Schools Community District
Nearly 50,000 students call Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) home. The Office of School Nutrition (OSN) is committed to supporting the educational development of students by providing free meals to all students in grades K-12. OSN is adapting to multiple teaching locations for their students including face-to-face instruction, learning centers, and online, while ensuring that all students have access to healthy meals. Food nutrition teams at every building are working tirelessly to prepare two meals a day for students participating in face-to-face instruction and learning centers. Additionally, they prepare multi-day meal packs available for parents of virtual students to pick-up at any school building in the district on Mondays and Thursdays from 9am-1pm.
Office of School Nutrition Executive Director, Carl Williams, reflects on his hardworking team.
“As I visit school cafeterias, I consistently find school nutrition employees adhering to strict nutritional guidelines, navigating through our daily changing environment (our new normal), while doing it with a smile and often offering a kind word to encourage their coworkers and students they serve. These men and women are encouraging, courageous, and inspiring – True Superheroes.”
The Office of School Nutrition would like to spotlight Ileana Esquivel, B. Manager at Western International, who goes beyond the call of duty to feed students in Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Ileana takes pride in every meal that leaves her kitchen and is the reason why her kitchen is one of the “go-to” schools used to provide meals to other schools in the District. Additionally, she treats her kitchen as a “home away from home” and truly cares that the students enjoy the meals that she and her team present. If she receives any negative feedback from students, she is quick to share with leadership to improve the student experience.
She demonstrates her support of the leadership team by taking on new challenges and sharing what she learns with other staff. For instance, when she learns any new software or equipment, she shares her knowledge with other schools within the District. Additionally, she ensures that other Spanish-speaking staff fully understand new programs, meal options, policies, etc. by translating for them.
Finally, Ileana is reliable, organized and exemplifies a willingness to learn—all of which makes a great leader. It is evident that her leadership skills are valued by her team as they have a deep respect for her and respond well to her directions.