KIMBALL, Minn. (May 22, 2018) – Members of Minnesota School Nutrition Association (MSNA) have voted in three local school foodservice professionals to the 2018-2019 Executive Board and Leadership Development Committee. From a talented group of candidates, Mary Jo Lange, of Red Lake School District, was elected vice president; Penny Hoops, of Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Schools, was elected secretary/finance chair; and Sherri Knutson, of Rochester Public Schools, who was elected to the Leadership Development Committee.

This year’s elected leaders each possess true passion for child nutrition and have a proven record of volunteer experience, leadership and commitment to School Nutrition Association, the industry and the students they serve.

Mary Jo Lange, SNS, Vice President

 Mary Jo Lange, SNS, is currently completing her fifth year as food service coordinator at Red Lake School District in Red Lake. She previously worked at Blackduck School District for nine years, the last seven as Food Service Director. Mary Jo is also currently completing her second two-year term as MSNA Secretary/Finance chair, and serves on various committees, including the Annual Conference, Industry Conference (SNIP), Marketing and Executive Committees, as well as the Policy & Procedure Committee and By-Law Committee. She serves as president of MSNA Paul Bunyan Chapter 34.

Mary Jo understands the requirements of the position, is poised to take on the responsibilities of vice president and is excited to represent MSNA members statewide.

She has attended national SNA Leadership Conferences, representing Minnesota at the national level with the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN). She is a Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Mentor in the Team Up for Success Program and has hosted a successful visit for three Midwest Regional USDA staff during her administrative review. As a participant in USDA’s World Café Project, Mary Jo is contributing to the development of a plan to convert all meal patterns in all child nutrition programs to be universal.

Utilizing her extensive experience serving the members of MSNA at the Executive Board level for four years, Mary Jo is uniquely prepared to serve as vice president. She is SNA credentialed SNS and holds a SNA Level 3 certificate. Mary Jo is a licensed National Restaurant Association ServSafe instructor and exam proctor.
Penny Hoops, Secretary/Finance Chair

Penny Hoops has been working in school foodservice for seven years, currently holding the food service director position for Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose (BHM) Schools in Buffalo. Prior to BHM, she was the food service director for Albany, Rocori and Paynesville School Districts.

Penny says she is honored to serve as the MSNA Secretary/Finance chair, hoping to continue the great work done by Mary Jo Lange before her. She plans to continue working on getting more involvement from rural areas of the state.

She has held various MSNA volunteer and leadership roles over the years, including secretary and treasurer for Central Granite Chapter 24 for five years, serving on the Annual State Conference Committee for the past four years and currently serving as the co-chair of the 2018 Annual Conference. She has also served as president of the School Directors of Minnesota Group.

Penny believes she will be a great asset to the MSNA Executive Board as the Secretary/Finance chair because of her strong finance history with previous school districts, where she brought the fund balances to a surplus and required a spend down plan. She strives to be involved in planning and trainings that will increase her knowledge of school nutrition programs.  Penny holds an SNA Level 3 certificate and a Minnesota Department of Health Food Manager License.


Sherri Knutson, Leadership Development Committee

Sherri Knutson is the coordinator of student nutrition services for Rochester Public Schools in Rochester. She has amassed a plethora of knowledge in her 28 years of working in school nutrition programs. She has served on numerous SNA committees, holding leadership roles as past president of MSNA (2006-2007) and Education and Legislative chair. Sherri is a past recipient of the SNA Director of the Year Award – winning the state, regional and national award.

Sherri hopes to use her new role on the Leadership Development Committee to motivate the talented and creative school nutrition professionals in Minnesota to take their leadership abilities to the next level.  She will help identify and recruit volunteers with the expertise and enthusiasm to step up to elected leadership positions.

“We are extremely proud to have such strong representation from the state of Minnesota on the 2018-2019 board,” said MSNA Executive Director Sharon Maus. “These talented school nutrition professionals are committed members who exemplify the leadership and dedication of MSNA to the health and well-being of our state’s students.”

A special thanks to all the 2018 ballot candidates! Each of them made an important commitment to serve school nutrition programs and you, our members, through leadership at MSNA. We hope they will continue to share their leadership talent at MSNA and consider future leadership opportunities.