The Miami Trace Local Schools Board of Education approved a new food service director this week to fill the position of Gary Campbell, who will be retiring at the end of the school year.
Campbell — who has been employed by the district since 2010 — was an account manager for the Derringer Company prior to joining the Miami Trace team. During his time with the district, Campbell witnessed many changes in the program as it relates to nutritional requirements and meal patterns.
“In many districts, these changes have caused decreases in student participation in the meal program as students turned away from healthy options in favor of more traditional (yet less nutritional) sack lunches,” Miami Trace Business Manager Bill Franke said via email this week. “However, at Miami Trace, the student meal participation has remained strong thanks in large part to efforts to make meals that are healthy yet tasty, and satisfying to students. Gary has worked hard to make school meals attractive in terms of color, variety and quality. In addition, Gary has earned the respect of his employees by his willingness to do whatever is needed to get the job done—from washing dishes, serving meals, or dressing up as ‘Chef Luigi’ during Taste Test Tuesdays.”
Franke said that Campbell and his team have developed the Miami Trace food service program into a well-respected program throughout the region. He said that the program has been recognized by the Ohio Department of Education as a Breakfast All-Star program and the RISE award for exemplary service to students.
“Gary will be missed by the entire Miami Trace family due to his energy, passion and dedication to the staff and students of the district,” Franke said. “The district sincerely thanks Gary for his years of dedication and wishes him all the best in the next chapter of his journey.”
According to the district, in his retirement, Campbell plans to spend more time with his family, travel and continue to work on his various crafts and hobbies.
“Mr. Gary Campbell has left a positive impact on the staff, students and school community here at Miami Trace,” Miami Trace Superintendent Kim Pittser wrote via email this week. “As the Food Service Coordinator, Gary made sure he put himself in the buildings with students as well as in coordination with employees. He focused on our children and dedicated himself to ensuring they received healthy and good-tasting meals. One of my favorite memories of Gary will be his ‘Chef Luigi’ costume he would wear when he wanted our elementary students to try something new on their menu. We are thankful to Mr. Campbell for his dedication to Panther Nation and wish him all the best in his retirement.”
On Monday, the board of education approved the hiring of Deanna Park, who will assume the role of food service director following Campbell’s retirement.
Park has a wide-ranging background in educational food services, primarily at the collegiate level. Most recently, she was employed by Chartwells Higher Education as a contract food service account manager working with various universities throughout the country in Washington D.C., Washington state, and West Virginia. From 2014 through 2018, Park was the director of dining at Ohio Wesleyan University, and from 1997 through 2013, she held various management positions in student dining services at The Ohio State University.
Park is a graduate of Penn State University and currently resides in South Charleston. The school district representatives said they are looking forward to beginning a new chapter in the management of the food service program and wish Park all the best.
“Mrs. Park brings with her a well-rounded experience that will enable us to continue our advancements in the food service program,” Pittser said. “She has acquired many opportunities that will assist us in the future, and we are excited for her to begin with us very soon. We look forward to her building relationships with our staff and students, and we are anxious for her to share ideas for our growth.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 463-9684 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.