New Food Chief Joins City Schools

Melissa Bailey PhotoThe new director in charge of food served in public-school cafeterias has a palate kids can relate to.

Gail Sharry (pictured) will take over as New Haven public schools food services director on June 17 with a $120,000 salary. The school board welcomed her and approved her appointment at last Monday’s regular board meeting. 

Sharry is currently the food services director for New London schools. She said she will do “double duty” until New London finds a replacement.

The job has been open since last August, when Tim “Chef Tim” Cipriano left New Haven to take a job in Guilford. The school district conducted a broad search to fill his position and made an offer to the leading candidate, but the candidate didn’t take the job, according to schools Chief Operating Officer Will Clark. So Clark worked with two consultants to cover food duties throughout the school year.

Sharry joins New Haven at a time when the district, after concentrating on fresh food initiatives under Chef Tim’s leadership, is focusing on getting a better handle on its budget. The school food program costs $12 million per year, but takes in only $10 million in revenue, running up a $2 million deficit, according to Clark. As Clark and administrators focus on reining in costs, some of the 186 school cafeteria workers, whose labor contract expired three years ago, have been organizing a new campaign calling on the schools to hire more cooks. Click here to read more about that.

Sharry brings to the table two decades of experience in the field—and an understanding of kids’ palates. Asked what she ate for lunch last Monday, she first demurred. (“I can’t say.”) Then she agreed to divulge her favorite lunch: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with white milk.

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posted by: Curious on May 20, 2013  12:23pm

New London HS menu. NLHS Fancy Front.pdf

Pretty carb-heavy.  Cheesy breadsticks?  Nachos?

Wil NHPS parents have input on the foods offered?

posted by: Brutus2011 on May 20, 2013  1:32pm

Another 10K/month central office administrator…just what we need…

posted by: WC10 on May 20, 2013  1:35pm

How about we enact this plan: The people administering the school lunch program MUST eat the school lunch.

My bet is the quality of the food will improve dramatically.

As for the budget, since when is a free lunch for those in need supposed to be run on a balanced budget. Selling lunch to our students shouldn’t be viewed as a money maker.

Why don’t we take a portion of your $120,000 salary to help provide kids living below the poverty line with a delicious and nutritious meal?

Also, GET THE CANDY OUT of our schools. The PTAs and parent groups should not be allowed to sell cotton candy and fattening treats to students. The sugar in these treats turns well-baheved children into terrors in the classroom.

posted by: westville man on May 20, 2013  2:26pm

She will do “double duty” until they replace her in New London???  Did i read that correctly? So we are paying $120k, at the end of the school year, to a “part-time” employee?
Amen, Brutus2011, Amen.

posted by: Curious on May 20, 2013  2:37pm

Just found this NHPS budget info.

Food services is a fourteen MILLION dollar item!  Whoa.  Salaries cost six million.

posted by: Curious on May 20, 2013  3:07pm

It would be interesting to know what the LAST person in this position was making, and what her past salary in New London was.

Can the NHI provide that?  It would go a long way to ending rampant speculation in the comments, and help people realize whether this was warranted or not.

posted by: westville man on May 20, 2013  3:31pm

@ Curious   Not PAST salary at New London, present salary there.  That’s not speculation, she’s double dipping it seems from what I read.