Gulf Gate Elementary kitchen manager recognized as School-Related Employee of the Year

Sarah Woods also a nominee for state honor

Sarah Woods is the kitchen manager at Gulf Gate Elementary School. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Schools

Sarah Woods, a kitchen manager at Gulf Gate Elementary School in Sarasota, has been named the 2018 Sarasota County School District School-Related Employee of the Year, the district has announced.

Further, according to an April 20 announcement by Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart, Woods is also one of five finalists who will be competing for statewide recognition next month.

“Sarah Woods continues to succeed through hard work and dedication,” said Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden in a news release. “Not only is she an incredible manager, her care for the students at Gulf Gate Elementary is inspiring. She is one of our brightest employees, and I am thrilled she has been recognized as the district’s 2018 School-Related Employee of the Year,” he added in the release.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with many outstanding leaders during my career, and Sarah Woods is one of the finest leaders I have had the privilege to work with,” said Robin Magac, principal at Gulf Gate Elementary, in the release. “She displays such a cooperative and harmonious nature — the students and staff just adore her. This recognition is well-deserved.”

“Being a Food and Nutrition Services employee is a tough job,” noted Beverly Girard, director of the school district’s Food and Nutrition Services Department, in the release. “Sarah Woods is a remarkable manager who handles her job effectively and efficiently. She is quick with a smile and a compassionate hand, and I am glad the school district and Commissioner Stewart have recognized her outstanding work.”

Woods, who has been with the Sarasota County School District since 2006, manages all aspects of food production, as well as the food service staff, at Gulf Gate Elementary, the release points out. She supervises five employees and is responsible for preparing and serving 140 breakfasts and more than 500 lunches daily for the students at the school, the release continues.

She recently was recognized for her efforts during Hurricane Irma, when Gulf Gate Elementary became a shelter for more than 2,000 community members, the release adds. “She and her team worked tirelessly to ensure all shelter guests received three meals a day during the storm,” the release says.

In Sarasota County, Woods was selected for recognition from nearly 50 nominees chosen from approximately 2,200 support staff members who work throughout the district’s schools and departments, the release explains. To be considered for the honor, those employees cannot be teachers or administrators., the release notes.

The outstanding achievements of all School-Related Employee of the Year nominees will be recognized during a luncheon on May 9 at Michael’s on East, the release says.

The public may view a YouTube video, produced by The Education Channel, that features Woods and Gulf Gate Elementary.