June 20– During the 2019 Kentucky School Nutrition Association (KSNA) Annual Conference, on behalf of The Dairy Alliance, Alan Curtsinger and Melinda Turner received the Friend of the KSNA Award. This award recognizes The Dairy Alliance as an industry leader in providing healthy nutrition options to students. This award honors those who work to further KSNA’s efforts, attend the KSNA Annual Conference and/or work with the KSNA organization on a project.

The KSNA represents school nutrition professionals across Kentucky, including cafeteria staff, managers, supervisors and directors, in advocating for improved school nutrition programs. This year’s conference was held June 19 – 21 in Louisville. In addition to booths for one-on-one discussions, conference classes covered topics like nutrition and food safety for members in all roles. 

Curtsinger and Turner attended the conference to exhibit and share the importance of dairy on school meal menus. They were surprised with the Friend of the KSNA Award during the opening session. 

On their teammate’s work in student wellness, each had praise for the other’s efforts.

“Melinda is a very well-respected friend to all KSNA members, and I think the trust she has established with everyone can be traced back to her experiences as a former child nutrition director, Kentucky SNA President, and School Nutrition Association President,” Curtsinger said. “Members appreciate how approachable she is and that she is speaking from having experienced many of the same issues when it comes to feeding more students to ensure they are set up for success in the classroom.” 

“Alan exemplifies the words: integrity, teamwork and dedication,” Turner stated.  “His prior work at the Kentucky Department of Education allowed for relationship building with school nutrition professionals across Kentucky. Accolades for his efforts and work on behalf of The Dairy Alliance are part of every conversation with KSNA members.” 

When asked what their work for student wellness means to them, both praised the importance of milk in a balanced meal. “I’m grateful to work for an organization that wants to feed all students nutritious meals that helps satisfy their basic needs and fuels them for success,” Curtsinger responded. 

“I have devoted my entire career to education and making a difference for children,” said Turner. “Alan’s words express my compassion for our students and why our work in Youth Wellness at The Dairy Alliance is so rewarding for me.” 

“We appreciate the opportunity to support schools with feeding more students nutritious and delicious dairy foods, and we’re proud to represent the hard-working dairy farmers who make it possible,” concluded Curtsinger. 

The two will continue the summer months working the Summer Meals programs and helping school nutrition teams prepare for the upcoming school year. 

For more information about the Kentucky School Nutrition Association, visit their website.