Zumwalt retires after leading Nutrition Services Department for 31 years

Lincoln Public Schools Director of Nutrition Services Edith Zumwalt retires at the end of June after 31 years with the school district. Numbers reveal only part of her legacy - but those numbers are impressive. During her time at LPS:

  • 112.5 million school lunches served
  • 32.7 million school breakfast meals served
  • $22 million paid into the LPS general fund by the Nutrition Services Department to cover expenses such as gas, water and lights in school kitchens (The department is self-sustaining, meaning it receives no money from the LPS General Fund.)
  • More than $140 million of food ordered

But beyond the numbers, Zumwalt leaves a legacy of leadership and innovation. During her 31 years, much has changed: an increased emphasis on serving locally grown fruits and vegetables; the use of technology to communicate school menu options; a growing number of specialized meals catering to dietary restrictions; and certainly the expanding maze of federal regulations she navigates when planning school meals.

“Edith is an extraordinary leader,” said LPS Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish. “The Nutrition Services Program doubled in size and complexity under her steady leadership over 30 years. Edith cares deeply about providing students with great nutritious meals so they are healthy and ready to learn. Her passion will impact LPS students and families for many years to come.”

Zumalt said she’s proud of what the department has accomplished under her leadership, including designing and opening 32 new kitchens, providing the fresh fruit and vegetable program in 28 schools and continuing to offer food to children during the pandemic when schools were forced to shut down.

She’s ready for the next chapter in her life but will miss her colleagues.

“School food service staff are friendly, hardworking, caring people,” she said. “They’re always willing to help each other and share ideas. There are so many amazing people in LPS that do their best each day for the students.”

Published: June 23, 2021, Updated: July 6, 2021

Zumwalt at the Nutrition Services Distribution Center, which was built during her time at LPS