Posted on March 15th, 2019 in Staff Spotlight

Erin Coleman

What is your title at Perry Township Schools?
I am the Director of Child Nutrition and Food Services.

Where did you grow up?
Logansport, IN

Education Background:
Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer.
Undergrad: Indiana University in Bloomington. Dietetic Grad Program: IUPUI

Do you have a favorite band or musician?
Kelly Clarkson

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what are three items you would want to have with you?
The world’s comfiest hammock, a never-ending supply of Gigi’s cupcakes, and a picture of my family.

Name one person – living or dead – you would like to invite to dinner?
Abraham Lincoln. The Gettysburg address remains one of the most influential statements in American history and I admire his self-made character rich in humility, compassion, and integrity.

What is your go-to snack?
Plain Greek yogurt with a handful of almonds

What is something your students might be surprised to learn about you?
I was overweight for a large portion of my life and struggled to eat healthy. But the more I focused on fueling my body with proper nutrients, the better I felt. I have now dedicated my life to helping others create a healthy relationship with food and understand the importance of a healthy diet.

Tell us about the Child Nutrition Department:
The Child Nutrition Department is responsible for participating in several nutrition programs that provide healthy food to children and are in accordance with federal guidelines. Such programs include the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program (snacks and supper meals), and Summer Food Service Program.

On average, we provide over 220,000 lunch meals, 95,000 breakfast meals, 1,800 supper meals, and 7,000 snacks every month. We also provide meals during school intercessions and summer break to ensure students receive healthy well-balanced meals outside of scheduled school days.

Lastly, we work with school nurses and parents to accommodate students with special dietary needs by creating specialized menus to encourage participation in our programs.

Did you always want to work in this field?
Not necessarily. I’ve always had a strong interest in science and medicine from a young age (I got my first chemistry set when I was 7), but a career in nutrition was not in the forefront of my mind. I went to college with the intent of becoming an ER Doctor, but I decided to change my major to Dietetics my junior year after several nutrition classes sparked my interest. Becoming a dietitian has been a very rewarding career, as there are so many specialties within this field. I am extremely passionate about child nutrition and helping to ensure that our youth have access to healthy, affordable meals.

Why is a healthy diet so important?
Just like a car, our body needs the correct fuel to run properly, and that fuel comes from the food we eat. A healthy diet is rich in nutrients that repair cellular damage, rebuild tissue, protect against infections, and help our organs function properly. It also plays a large role in growth and development, as well as academic performance.

Do you have any goals you have for the Perry Township students? Enjoy delicious, nutritious meals that excite their appetite and encourage participation in our wonderful nutrition programs.