McDermott manages Alabaster school kitchens, programs

Published 4:50 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2015

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

On Aug. 24, Alabaster City Schools started participating in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program which supports educational and enrichment programs for children through age 18 by providing free snacks (3 p.m.) and free dinners (5 p.m.).

As the Alabaster City Schools Child Nutrition director, Heather McDermott oversees all of the ACS kitchens and programs. (Contributed)

As the Alabaster City Schools Child Nutrition director, Heather McDermott oversees all of the ACS kitchens and programs. (Contributed)

Our athletic, academic, band and other after school clubs have found it very beneficial.

In its first six days of operation 580 snacks and 303 dinners were served!

Heather McDermott, Alabaster City Schools Child Nutrition director, supervises all Alabaster School kitchens and its programs to ensure that children are given the best quality meals.

Chef Scot Lokey (hired this spring) works to train the kitchen staff on how to use different herbs and spices to create better tasting recipes.

This fall several new items are being debuted.

This past summer there was a summer feeding program held at Meadow View Elementary.

Next year, upon receipt of a grant, there will be a bus to “deliver” the foods to different locations during the summertime for those not able to come to the school.

“The Child Nutrition Program believes there is a direct link between nutrition, behavior and grades and is interested to see how all these programs might help improve student’s grades and behavior,” says McDermott.

With a Bachelor of Human Environmental Sciences with a major in Restaurant and Hospitality Management and a minor in business from the University of Alabama in 1999, McDermott then moved to Arizona where she received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2005.

McDermott has worked at Samford University and in Phoenix, Ariz. at Dysart Unified School District and the Paradise Valley Unified School District.

McDermott moved back to Alabama in 2006 and began working for the Alabama Child Nutritional Department as an educational specialist.

“In March of 2013, I became aware of an opportunity of a lifetime when the City of Alabaster set up its own school system,” McDermott said. “This opened up a director job but most importantly a brand new district. I felt that opening a district would bring tons of knowledge that I would not gain elsewhere. I have never looked back. It’s been an amazing experience and I look forward to many years to come.”