Superintendent Leadership for School Breakfast

Type: Report
Topics: Health & Wellness, School Nutrition

July 30, 2019

Four superintendents share their thoughts on the importance of school breakfast to student success

AASA has always seen healthy eating in schools as a leadership issue. Meals were served in the cafeteria, vending machines dotted the hallways of schools, and sales of cookies, chips, candies, and other fundraisers took place all over the district. While many different people were “in charge” of these various forms of food sales/distribution, the superintendent, as the leader of the district, is ultimately responsible for what and how students are fed.

It is the role of the superintendent to engage the larger community in all district initiatives, including our successful school breakfast program.Mark Benigni, Superintendent, Meriden (Conn.) Public Schools

It is from this perspective that AASA first approached our work on alternative methods of serving school breakfast so that more children are fed healthier foods. The success of our breakfast efforts has hinged on the support and engagement of superintendents and the generosity of the Walmart Foundation.

AASA has been funded by the Walmart Foundation since 2011 to provide funding and technical assistance to increase school breakfast participation. We’ve worked with 30 districts over four cohorts, feeding more than 400,000 students. Many have asked “Why AASA? What do superintendents have to do with breakfast?,” but we see school breakfast as a leadership issue for our members.

Superintendents have many and varied reasons for supporting school breakfast, but the results are the same:

  • fewer hungry students in schools;
  • improved attendance;
  • less tardiness;
  • fewer visits to the nurse’s office;
  • fewer suspensions; and
  • better academic outcomes.

We feature four superintendents here, a representative from each of the cohorts, sharing their thoughts on the importance of school breakfast to student success.

With Support From

Walmart Foundation