Advocates for Student Health through Nutrition Education
The Let’s Eat Healthy Educator Recognition Program celebrates California educators who enable, inspire and motivate students to make healthier food choices and develop lifelong healthy eating habits. Dairy Council of California proudly recognizes the efforts of all educators who have made a positive difference in the health of their students within their school communities and beyond. We share their stories to highlight their efforts and inspire others.
The program also includes an award component. All educators who embody the spirit of the program are eligible for nomination for teaching nutrition education and demonstrating outstanding advocacy. The criteria for nomination includes, at a minimum, teaching science-based nutrition education. The additional factors considered during the selection process, such as incorporating nutrition into a school event or growing a school garden, are what set these educators apart.
We are proud to recognize the following winners for the 2020-21 school year:
Jaime Brown is a teacher on special assignment in Madera, California. As a teacher in the Central Valley for almost 15 years, Jaime has led nutrition and physical education efforts integrated with professional development to support districtwide health interventions with demonstrated success in her district, including a notable decrease in overweight/obesity rates and an increase in healthy behaviors among students. Jaime teaches nutrition education as part of the physical education curriculum because she believes it is an essential life skill all students should have. She is proud to support school gardens like the one at Maddison Elementary because teaching students ag literacy helps them make the connection between how food is grown and the food they see in the school cafeteria. She shared:
Scott Brown is a physical education teacher in Fresno, California. Scott transformed traditional lessons into a digital education platform to ensure nutrition remained part of the physical education curriculum. Leaning on technology and the trust he builds with his students, he improves their lives. Using nutrition education as a tool, he not only teaches healthy eating habits but also identifies and connects students to resources to ensure they have access to the healthful foods he teaches about in his classroom. He uses Nearpod, an educational platform, to creatively integrate nutrition curriculum as part of physical education to provide his students with a hands-on, interactive experience. Through this process, he was able to identify which of his students lacked the proper access to food. This inspired him to partner with the school district’s food services department and a local church to create a food assistance program. Scott believes all educators should expand classroom instruction to include health and nutrition. He believes it is absolutely vital to preparing students to live healthier, better lives. Not only should educators teach nutrition education, they should make sure students are able to grasp it, learn it and apply it in their lives. He shared:
Christian Manalo is a physical education teacher in Tustin, California. Christian incorporates nutrition education into his curriculum because he believes it is a vital component of overall health. To support healthier students, he collaborated with his physical education team to develop a student-led nutrition podcast to inspire healthier eating habits peer-to-peer and beyond to families and the entire school community. He believes that physical education and nutrition are the building blocks to overall health and wellness. By utilizing technology to inspire student learning and instill passion for a healthy lifestyle, Christian was able to inspire students to create a platform to empower healthier eating habits for fellow students, families and the entire school community. Teaching nutrition as a component of physical education, Christian is able to build strong relationships with his students. He believes:
Pamela Stephenson is a second grade teacher in Highland, California. For the last 25 years, Pamela has taught nutrition as part of her classroom curriculum, incorporating hands-on activities like soup making and food tasting into her lessons to bring to life the importance and applicability of nutrition. This allows her students to experience and describe foods using their senses, build self-awareness and social-emotional intelligence, and create positive community experiences. She loves teaching nutrition because she believes it is an essential life skill that empowers students. She is a strong advocate for Dairy Council of California’s nutrition resources because they are free, science-based and integrate common core standards, social-emotional learning. This makes it easy to teach while also meeting the needs of her students. She believes:
These four outstanding educators are recognized for their passion and their efforts in elevating the health of their students and school community by incorporating nutrition education in their curriculum. We appreciate their great work and ongoing commitment to student health!
Learn more about last year's winners by clicking here.
Tune into the complete Let's Eat Healthy Leadership Award playlist on our YouTube channel.