NFSMI Executive Director Accepts Presidential Appointment
OXFORD, Miss.—Dr. Katie Wilson, executive director for the National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi, has been officially appointed by President Barack Obama as the Deputy Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services with the USDA. The role includes a variety of responsibilities such as help with developing dietary guidelines and nutrition programs across the country.
“I have partnered with the USDA a number of times over the years,” said Wilson. “I’ve taken part in many of their expert panels on nutrition, so the connection has always been there.”
In January, Wilson received a phone call from the office of Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, about entertaining the idea of becoming Deputy Under Secretary. She officially accepted the job in March.
In an email, Concannon wrote, “Katie has had a wealth of experience in school nutrition serving in a variety of positions. She has testified before congress and served in leadership roles in the School Nutrition Association. Her clear and lifelong passion for improving the health of school children and her vast experience in this field make her a perfect choice to hit the ground when she joins us later this Spring.”
Since 2010, Dr. Wilson has served as the executive director of NFSMI on the UM campus. Established by Congress in 1989, the Institute is the only federally funded national center dedicated to education, training, and technical assistance for child nutrition programs.
Wilson will resign from her position at NFSMI to fulfill her role with the USDA.
“I love NFSMI. It’s a passion of mine,” Wilson said. “We have developed a wonderful staff that’s very capable of doing their jobs. It’s sort of a sweet sorrow, but I’m not worried. The Institute is in good hands.”
Dr. Velmer Burton, Dean of the School of Applied Sciences, is very proud of Dr. Wilson’s appointment, noting that she did an exemplary job as the NFSMI director.
“Katie will truly be missed as she leaves for Washington, DC,” Burton said. “However, we are very excited for her in this new role, which naturally reflects well on Dr. Wilson, the talented NFSMI staff, and the initiatives she has established as director here at the University of Mississippi. ”
Wilson will begin her new position with the USDA on May 1st where she expects to undergo discussion about national nutrition standards in schools.
“I believe children should be having the highest quality of food in their schools,” said Wilson. “We should be serving meals based on the science of nutrition.”