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Dan Westmoreland tapped as Child Nutrition Director for Oxford School District

By Kelly Graeber

Oxford School District

School cafeteria manager Dan Westmoreland’s passion for food service shines when he does what he loves the most in Oxford schools. His drive and team-oriented leadership, coupled with 25-plus years of stellar food service expertise, are why Oxford school officials chose Westmoreland as the new director for the Oxford School District Child Nutrition Department.

Westmoreland — who will lead the district’s future efforts in nourishing Oxford school students while helping school cafeterias continue to flourish — will take the helm as director on June 1, 2017. He will pick up where Tim Howington, current child nutrition director, leaves off before retiring at the end of this school year. Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey said that Westmoreland’s vision for the district’s school cafeteria experience and overall dedication and enthusiasm for school nutrition are what will move the program into the top ranks as one of the best  programs in the state.

“Dan’s vision for nourishing our children and making our child nutrition department the best in the region is what will take our program to the next level,” said Harvey.

Westmoreland says his plans to improve the child nutrition program include placing more scratch cooking — less heat-and-serve items and more fresh, traditional, yet healthy recipes — in school cafeteria kitchens. He says he will also have a more hands-on approach in school cafeterias: after all, he believes that investing in food service industry employees is the best investment that can be made.

Ultimately, he would like to make the OSD Child Nutrition Department a self-sustaining operation and the top program in the state of Mississippi. His background in managing multiple food service facilities, training staff, and his supervisory experience in high-impact environments have primed him for the new director position he will start in June.

“What I love about the food service business is investing in the people and in the industry,” said Westmoreland. “Having a hands-on approach in our school cafeterias, to be in the trenches, and help our staff be the best at what they do every day in the lives of our students is a major part of what I plan to do.”

As the current cafeteria manager at Oxford High School, he has incorporated changes which offer students more mealtime selections such as incorporating a potato bar, “grab and bolt” sandwiches and the option of four entree selections instead of two.

“The whole idea is to get the students the nutrients they need to learn in the form of a healthy, nutritious meal,” he said.

Westmoreland also served as the cafeteria manager at Della Davidson Elementary School, which was named the top performing school cafeteria in the district under his leadership. Daily cafeteria manager duties he is responsible for include managing cafeteria staff, employee training, menu building, and overseeing all aspects of the school cafeteria — food, operating supplies, cleaning and marketing.

Westmoreland’s professional background includes food service operations, human resources, marketing, budgeting, market development, management training and information technology. He says he is ready to take the same passion and drive to accomplish his goals and do the same things for the child nutrition program.

“I am ready to go to work and make the district’s child nutrition department the #1 program of its kind in the state of Mississippi,” he said.