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Former teacher directs school lunch program

Marisa

Marisa Potter is the driving force behind the school meal program in Carter County.
The passion she has for her work is evident, even though it’s not the career she originally imagined having.
When Potter began her career with the Carter County school system, she started as a teacher at Central Elementary School. Later she became principal of the same school.
Then, approximately 18 years ago, her career took an unexpected turn. That is when Potter became the Director of Food Services for Carter County schools.
“I had no food services background,” she said, adding her degree is in supervision and administration. “I had to learn everything on the fly.”
When she was approached about becoming the food services director, Potter said she was not sure she would enjoy the work as much as she had loved teaching.
“I loved teaching,” she said. “I was the biggest kid in the class.”
But once Potter made the transition to food services, she knew she had made the right choice.
“Feeding children, that has really been my calling,” she said. “I think it has been a real great thing for my life.”
In addition to getting to feed children, Potter said she really enjoys getting to work with the staffs at the school cafeterias. She offers high praise for her staff and when she herself is praised for her work, she is quick to redirect those compliments to her staff.
“It’s easy to love your job when you get to work with such great people,” Potter said. “They work hard and they love the children. They are good, Christian people.”
While her job requires her to sit in her office and go over budgets, purchase orders and a variety of other paperwork, Potter can often be found in the school cafeterias – serving food along side the other staff, cooking or washing dishes.
Getting out into the schools allows Potter to interact with the children and find out what they like about the school menu, and also find out which items aren’t so popular. She said talking to the students helps her better prepare meals which the children will enjoy. After all, she said, getting the children to eat is what the meal program is all about.
“We want them to eat with us no matter what,” she said.
When Potter talks about the children in the schools, the passion she has for her job and the love for the children is very evident. For her, the children are what her job is all about.