2021 Excellence in Innovative Service Award
Katie Bark, project director of Montana Team Nutrition in the College of Education, Health and Human Development, has won the Excellence in Innovative Service Award, given to a professional employee who has demonstrated tangible innovation, broad impact on student experience and/or leadership through role modeling. The award comes with a $1,500 honorarium.
Bark has served in her role as project director for 25 years and, according to those who work with her, has spearheaded numerous projects dedicated to ensuring that children have access to a nutritious diet in their school environments. Of her programs, the ones mentioned most were Recess Before Lunch, Farm to School and Montana Cook Fresh Workshops. According to one colleague, each of those programs grew out of an identified gap in current practices across the state. Bark responded to requests from administrators, practitioners and community members to develop evidence-based programming that makes a difference in what and how children eat.
“Katie’s leadership in directing Team Nutrition’s programming has been useful and beneficial to me and my staff in learning how to implement best practices in school nutrition, farm-to-school and nutrition education or school wellness,” said Adrian Advincula, principal of Meadowlark Elementary. “She and her staff are always available to provide technical assistance to us in solving challenges with scheduling logistics around lunchtime. Katie is an amazing director and an even better person. I appreciate the time she has spent with me and my staff throughout the years to do what is right for our students.”
Bark has been described as a leader who engages MSU students with service-learning opportunities through Montana Team Nutrition. According to colleagues, she is communicative, innovative and dedicated to service and her team.