Friday, May 8, 2015
Mary Hill, executive director of Jackson Public School District's Food Services, says that the children she serves motivate her to get up and go to work every morning.
"I walk in the door with them on my mind, thinking of how to make their life better as far as health and nutrition is concerned," Hill said.
The International Food Manufacturer's Association recently awarded her the 2015 Silver Plate Award for the elementary and secondary schools category in the IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards.
"I knew I was nominated by one of the food brokers in the country," she said. "I felt privileged that they thought enough of me and the work that I had done. When I got the phone call, I felt that my life had been turned upside down. To receive an award from IFMA, it speaks highly of the work that not only I have done, but also what the team has done in our district."
Hill is a Jackson native and alumnus of JPS. She attended Brown Elementary School, Davis Junior High School and Central Senior High School. She is also a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where she earned a bachelor's and master's degree in home economics.
Hill first applied for a teaching position with Jackson Public Schools, but Joe Haynes, the district's deputy superintendent at that time, asked her to come back and interview for her current position.
"I told him that I would take the job, but I would only be here for five years," Hill said. "I really wanted to be a home economist because that is what I went to school for. But five years turned into 32 years in Jackson Public Schools."
Hill served as the 2007-2008 president of the School Nutrition Association and was the 2008-2009 president of the organization. She is also a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she also served as the 1998-2002 president of the Jackson Alumnae Chapter.
"In 2010, I had the privilege of hosting the first lady, Michelle Obama, when she came to visit our school district kicking off her 'Let's Move' campaign," Hill said. "I have been a child advocate for nutrition and physical health. I've spoken at conferences around the country, as well as in the state. This has been one interesting life but a very good one."
IFMA selected seven recipients for the 2015 Silver Plate Award in different categories, and the organization will select one Gold Plate Award recipient out of the seven candidates. Hill will travel to Chicago to receive her Silver Plate Award on May 18.
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