AP NEWS

There’s someone new in the kitchen at FM schools

February 13, 2017 GMT

A Fort Madison Community School District food service employee has taken over the challenging responsibilities as the new food service director.

Former FMCSD food service director Melanie Quereto retired this semester and now Lisa Kibby is transitioning into that position. This month, she is in control of being Fort Madison Middle School kitchen manager and the director.

Challenges

During her first week as director she came across a dilemma when her food truck driver resigned the same week she was in training. However, Kibby said she was able to make some adjustments with staff to take over the role. But for a week it was a challenge making sure food was delivered to schools on time.

“Everybody has been great with helping me,” said Kibby.

During training, Kibby learned about a lot of the policies that involve the food service department, including the policies regarding school lunch accounts. According to Kibby, having a policy for unpaid lunch accounts would be ideal to resolve conflicts with unpaid accounts.

For the 2016-17 school year, FMCSD had a negative balance totaling $66,972.18 with 703 accounts – which included families that have left the district; 467 accounts owing less than $100; and 236 accounts have a negative balance of $100 or more.

Kibby said the balance has gone down since last month.

Although the Board has not made a final decision in seeking solutions for unpaid lunch accounts, Kibby believes that a policy for an alternative lunch will most likely be the best option.

“Alternative lunch is going to make that difference,” said Kibby.

Kibby says she tries to be diligent in keeping parents informed. Since she has started her new position she has sent out lunch account statements in the mail to parents to inform them about their unpaid lunch account balances every two weeks to get parents attention that their accounts have negative balances.

“It’s a lot of work,” she said in regards to sending notices out every two weeks. “But we need to do it so that they can see it,” said Kibby.

Experience

Kibby has a wide range of experience prior to working for the district. She held numerous jobs in relation to food service, hospitality and customer service.

Her first job was at the Connor’s Cove restaurant on the west end of Fort Madison.

“I’ve had long term jobs at every place I’ve worked at,” said Kibby.

Kibby has been a FMCSD food service employee for over 20 years. Kibby started working part-time at the Fort Madison Middle School in September 1995, when her oldest daughter, Danielle Dear, was in middle school. For the past 10 years she has been a full-time food service employee and an assistant for the previous service director, who retired this semester and is now working as a consultant with School Nutrition Service, LLC.

As an assistant, Kibby helped parents fill out applications for free and reduced lunches and helped parents pay off lunch account bills.

As the new food service director, Kibby is responsible for evaluating, supervising, coordinating and directing the work duties of all food service employees; giving input to school board members; and monitoring the preparation and distribution of meals in the district.

Kibby is also responsible for preparing monthly menus, purchasing food commodities, assigning substitutes, keeping records, filing reports and overseeing the cleanliness and proper storage of all equipment.

Kibby said when she orders food for the district she thinks about what the students would like to eat.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires students to receive a specific proportion of nutrition for every breakfast and lunch. Schools are required to serve meals that include a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and serve only 1 percent low-fat and fat-free milk.

Kibby said that in the past, the food service department was able to make homemade foods from scratch, but now they must follow strict guidelines. Kibby said the new guidelines have been hard to follow, but she tries her best to make sure the food meets guidelines and fits students needs and wants.

“They’re the ones that have to eat the food every single day of the school year,” said Kibby.

Kibby said her main goal this year for the district is to continue learning about policies and legal information and continue to provide for the FMCSD students nutritious food.

“The goal is always the kids and to make the kids happy,” said Kibby.

About Kibby

She was born in Kirtsville, Mo. but at the age of four her family moved to Fort Madison. Kibby attended Jefferson Elementary, Fort Madison Middle School and she was 1980 graduate of Fort Madison High School.

She has been married for 26 years to her husband Bryan.

Her two oldest children — Danielle (husband Mike) Dear and Ryan (wife Leslie) Peters — live in Fort Madison.

Her youngest, Jordon Kibby, is a senior studying sports broadcasting at Culver Stockton College in Canton, Mo.

Kibby has three grandsons and one granddaughter.

During her free time Kibby enjoys hibernating in the winter and spending time at sport events in which that her grandchildren and youngest son Jordon participate.

In the summer she says she loves anything to do with water.