Willmar Schools food service director wins national award

Willmar Food and Nutrition Director Annette Derouin has earned national honors for her management of the meal programs of several school districts.

Annette Derouin

WILLMAR — Annette Hendrickx Derouin has been named national Director of the Year by the national School Nutrition Association.

Derouin is director of food and nutrition services for the Willmar, New London-Spicer and Montevideo public schools.

The award recognizes the contributions of school nutrition directors who manage programs providing healthy meals to students.

Derouin has worked in school nutrition for 24 years. She was honored for her leadership and financial management skills.

Those include increasing scratch cooking and expanded menus in the kitchens. During pandemic-related school closures, she has managed the districts’ emergency feeding programs.


Derouin was nominated for the award by her peers in Willmar. They noted her work to expand breakfast options and participation in schools. She was praised for developing programs to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for children, evening meals for at-risk children and catering meals to other school programs.

Derouin was credited for acting as a mentor to her staff and for developing statewide manuals on food safety and farm-to-school programs. She was one of the first directors in Minnesota to work with local farmers to offer a farm-to-school program.

She is to be honored July 12 at the School Nutrition Association’s 74th annual national conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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