SANDRA “SANDY” TEIXEIRA, left, cafeteria manager at the Galvin Middle School, was named School Lunch Hero in the school’s gymnasium on Monday, May 6. Teixeira is shown with Catherine Donovan, president of School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts and Adam Colantuoni, GMS principal. (Gail Lowe Photo)

Published in the May 7, 2019 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Sandra “Sandy” Teixeira manages the cafeteria at the Galvin Middle School (GMS), so when she walked into the school’s gymnasium on Monday afternoon, May 6, she thought she was going to speak to students in grades 5 and 6 about nutrition and the importance of not sharing food with classmates.

Instead, Teixeira got the surprise of her life when she not only saw the familiar faces of Galvin students but family members, co-workers, school administrative staff and faculty. They were there for a purpose: To see the woman they love and respect receive the highest honor from the School Nutrition Association (SNA) of Massachusetts.

Moments after Teixeira stepped inside the gym, she was crowned School Lunch Hero. GMS Principal Adam Colantuoni and SNA President Catherine Donovan were on hand to put a crown on her head and a red cape over her shoulders.

For her exceptional work, Teixeira was also presented a bouquet of flowers, engraved plaque and set of author Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s “Lunch Lady” books, all to thunderous applause and the stamping of feet throughout the gymnasium.

Teixeira has worked for the town’s School Department since 1996 and called the honor “overwhelming” since only one person in the entire state receives the award in any given year during Child Nutrition Employee Week, held this year from May 6-10.

“I love my job and I love working with the kids,” the lifelong Wakefield resident said.

Kristin Morello, school nutrition director for Wakefield and Reading public schools, attended the award presentation with her assistant Lisa Brown, who nominated Teixeira for the award.

“Sandy is a dedicated and hard working employee,” said Brown. “She started out 23 years ago as a part-time employee. Then she went full-time and worked her way up the ladder, from assistant manager to manager.” Teixeira is now in her sixth year as cafeteria manager.

Working directly under her are Gina Coughlin, Brenda Dion, Joe Elciewicz, Peiling Lu, Doreen Massee, and Fon Teh, all Wakefield residents.

Said Massee, “Sandy is a wonderful person and kitchen manager. She’s always smiling. She does it for the kids. And the people at the high school feel the same way. She’s fair and she’s genuine.”

Dion, Teixeira’s assistant, called her boss “awesome.”

“She’s the best person to work with and for, and I’m happy to call her my friend,” Dion said.

Sixth-grade student Julia Robertson agreed. “Mrs. Teixeira brings positive energy to the cafeteria. Thank you for all you do,” she said.

Teixeira is married to David Teixeira. The couple are parents to Derek, Michelle and Dan Teixeira and his wife Justine and grandparents of Whitney and Julien Teixeira.