School District: Brownsville Area School District
Work Address: 5 Falcon Drive
Brownsville, PA 15417
Work Phone #: 724-785-2021
Amy Keeler has been working in food service since 1987. She spent eleven years as a Chef and Banquet Manager at Lone Pine Country Club in Washington, Pa before transitioning to school food service. She has spent the last seven years as a Director of Food Service, first at California Area School District, then West Greene School District, and since 2013 in her current position at Brownsville Area School District.
Amy’s school district opened a brand new Elementary School housing 750 students in grades K – 5 in August, 2017. Since the cafeteria only seats 336 students, Keeler seized the opportunity to make the switch to Breakfast in the Classroom. The timing was perfect for this, as the district also opted in to the Community Eligibility Provision the same year.
After gaining approval from the Board of Directors, Keeler began planning the logistics and began to work on generating buy-in and support from stakeholders. She worked closely with the principal and director of maintenance to ensure a smooth transition. She also requested a 15-minute block of time to present the plans to the teachers at the back-to-school in-service and answer questions.
There were a few systematic tweaks made in the first few weeks, but it did not take long for the cafeteria staff, custodians, teachers and students to have things working like a well-oiled machine.
The winners are the kids, and breakfast participation at the elementary went up an impressive 94%. Any hesitation on the part of the teachers is gone. Many have taken the time to tell Amy how much they like having their students begin the day by eating breakfast in the classroom, and all the benefits that go along with it. Teachers have commented on better behavior, less nurse visits, and students who are more focused.
Amy highly recommends trying alternative methods to get the most important meal of the day to your students, and would be happy to help anyone who is interested in emulating her success.
Amy is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University and Westmoreland County Community College as well as the recipient of the Crystal Apple Award from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Amy is excited to be a member of the Breakfast Brigade and looks forward to helping you implement or expand your school breakfast program.