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August 20, 2013

19 Education Leaders Honored for Advancing School Health Movement and Fighting Childhood Obesity

Alliance for a Healthier Generation announces 2013 Healthy Schools Program Ambassadors

(NEW YORK, N.Y.) Aug. 20, 2013 – The Alliance for a Healthier Generation honored 19 school leaders from across the country for their diligence in creating healthy school environments for students and staff. The honorees, who include school superintendents, principals, physical education and health teachers, child nutrition directors, district wellness specialists, and parents, have been selected to serve as part of the Alliance’s National Healthy Schools Program Ambassadors Network, an expert team that helps schools improve access to healthy food and beverages and daily physical activity.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program supports the work of more than 18,000 schools across the country as they strive to make their campuses healthier places to learn and work. Each year the Healthy Schools Program selects a handful of its most effective champions to join the Ambassadors Network—motivating and leading students and staff toward healthier school environments and serving as national spokespeople for the Healthy Schools Program.

“We enthusiastically welcome these hardworking individuals to the Alliance's National Healthy Schools Program Ambassadors Network,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “The determination and drive they have displayed in their local communities have brought them to the forefront of the fight against childhood obesity, and we look forward to supporting them in their new role as national leaders for children's health.”


The 2013 Healthy Schools Program Ambassadors are:  

  • Susan Wood, Child Nutrition Director, Hoover City Schools, Hoover, Ala.
  • Catherine Giza, Nutrition and Wellness Director, Chandler Unified School District, Chandler, Ariz.
  • Heather Deckard, Physical Education Coordinator, Sacramento City Unified School District, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Josephine Carrion, Food Service Director, Flagler County Public Schools, Bunnell, Fla.
  • Kevin Treur, Physical Education Teacher, Pierson Elementary School, Pierson, Fla.
  • Allison Slade, Principal, Namaste Charter School, Chicago, Ill.
  • Casey Hinds, Parent, Ashland Elementary School, Lexington, Ky.
  • Angela Stark, Physical Education Teacher, Southern Middle School, Lexington, Ky.
  • Deborah Archer, Nutrition Educator, University of Maryland Extension, Riverdale, Md.
  • Sarah Chaplin, Physical Education and Science Teacher, Thurgood Marshall Middle School, Temple Hills, Md.
  • Eliza Adams, Health Education Teacher, Windham Middle School, Windham, Maine
  • Patricia Smith, Physical Education Teacher, Idlewild Elementary School, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Matthew Dykstra, Physical Education Teacher, Ezra Millard Elementary School, Omaha, Neb.
  • Jennifer Cedeno, Principal, Terence C. Reilly No. 7, Elizabeth, N.J.
  • Jean McTavish, Principal, Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School, New York, N.Y.
  • Jessica Shelly, Food Service Director, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Laura Holloway, Physical Education Teacher and Director of Health and Wellness, Pryor High School, Pryor Creek, Okla.
  • Mickey Komins, Principal, Anne Frank Elementary School, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Sharon Foster, Physical Education Teacher, James Bowie Elementary School, Dallas, Texas

Launched in 2006 with 231 schools in 13 states, the Healthy Schools Program now supports more than 18,000 schools in all 50 states to help transform them into healthier places where physical activity and healthier foods are available before, during, and after school. In 2012, CDC’s Journal for Preventing Chronic Disease published the findings of an evaluation of the Healthy Schools Program. Key findings from the evaluation were:

  • All schools can make changes aimed at creating a healthier environment.
  • Training and professional development hastens the implementation of key school-based practices and policies to encourage regular physical activity and better nutrition that are sustainable over time.
  • Schools across the country have designed innovative and low-cost strategies for promoting healthy eating and regular physical activity, while maintaining their focus on academic achievement.
  • There are promising indications that when schools implement the Healthy Schools Program, students’ weight and diet improve.
  • The Healthy Schools Program is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, works to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier children. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org.

Media Contacts:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Abby Manishor, 646-775-9152