• Chesterfield County Public Schools Cafeteria Manager Wins National Award

    May 8, 2020
    News release

    Tim Bullis · 804-639-6906
    Executive Director of Communications
    and Community Engagement

    Chesterfield County Public Schools Cafeteria Manager Wins National Award

    During a time when families are counting on Food and Nutrition Services heroes to deliver meals to thousands of students while schools are closed, we are excited to celebrate the accomplishments and recent honor given to a Chesterfield County Public Schools cafeteria manager.

    The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recently named Heather Blades, the cafeteria manager at Spring Run Elementary, the National Manager of the Year. This award is the highest honor a school cafeteria manager can receive and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a dedication to improve their school meal program. The nomination process began before widespread COVID-19 school closures, but SNA recognizes the innovative efforts of school nutrition managers on the frontlines of emergency meal programs, ensuring students in need continue to access healthy meals.

    Blades works hard to bring to life exciting initiatives such as “Rev Your Bev,” in which fresh fruit and herbs are infused into water to add flavor with no additional calories. She was also instrumental in adding a smoothie bike in the cafeteria, allowing students to make their own smoothies simply by pedaling. She has taught nutrition lessons to physical education students, and she even got the entire school community involved in the "Crunch Heard ‘Round the Commonwealth" event in which students, staff and teachers were encouraged to simultaneously take a bite of a Virginia-grown apple.

    “Heather Blades exemplifies the strong work ethic and passion for school foodservice and nutrition education that makes programs successful,” SNA President Gay Anderson said. “Her creativity, hard work and dedication to her staff and students make her an ideal Manager of the Year.”

    “We are excited to see Heather recognized for her outstanding work,” Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said. “Our Food and Nutrition workers are true super heroes, working throughout this uncharted time to deliver more than 350,000 meals since schools were closed. This is a game changer for our families.”

    Known for creating a fun and friendly atmosphere in the cafeteria, Blades decorates her serving
    lines for seasons and holidays throughout the year. The disco lunch she started, complete with
    neon glow lights and disco balls on the ceiling, was so popular with students it will likely become a
    monthly event.

    “Heather goes out of her way to build rapport and show each child they are special by taking the
    time to share one-on-one conversation and lunch with a different student each day,” Daugherty

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  • “Relaunch Chesterfield” Aims to Reopen Chesterfield Businesses


    Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce, Chesterfield Cabinet and Chesterfield County have united to support a coordinated relaunching of the Chesterfield economy.   Relaunch focuses on issues for businesses and elected officials around the county to consider as reopening plans are made. "Relaunch Chesterfield" is meant to work in conjunction with the Governors’ Covid-19 Business Task Force recommendations as they too begin the work of relaunching Virginia’s economy. 

    "Relaunch Chesterfield" will be developed in partnership with business leaders across a broad array of industry sectors and organizations around the county, including but not limited to the following sections:

    • Health and Safety First/Internal & External Customers
    • Retail
    • Restaurants
    • Hospitality
    • Arts & Entertainment
    • Healthcare Services
    • Personal Care Service Industry
    • K-12 Education & Childcare and Daycare

    "Relaunch Chesterfield" is meant to serve as a start to the conversation for returning more employees and businesses to work, rather than serving as a final, prescriptive set of answers or solutions.

    We are currently seeking participants to work and lead in these individual industry workgroups.  Please submit your information to be considered for an interested industry cluster workgroup by clicking here.    

    Businesses are resilient in creating opportunities to thrive in challenging conditions.  Businesses ability to pivot their business model and allow others to learn from that change is important for the greatest number of businesses to relaunch. By joining efforts and bringing businesses and resources together we have the ability to make adjustments quickly and start commerce sooner. 

    When the Commonwealth is ready to open Virginia, Chesterfield will be ready to open.

    We are looking for 8-10 people for each industry workgroup indicated to develop a framework for success.  Models and examples are already available as a guide from across the Country.  Workgroups using best practices can have the best opportunity for a successful plan.