It’s time to introduce you to our newest Featured Member!

Today’s article spotlights Jennifer Marrone, business manager of food and nutrition services at San Diego Unified School District in San Diego. Below, Jennifer, who also serves as our San Diego/Imperial Section state director, shares some of her thoughts and feelings on her work and our industry. Enjoy!

Why did you decide to get into a school business profession?
I started by temping in finance as a long-term payroll specialist. Then, a permanent position as a food services account clerk opened up, and I was encouraged to apply. I was happy to be using my skills in accounting while also doing many interesting things in food services.

How has being a part of a professional development association like CASBO helped you advance your career?
Being a part of CASBO has helped advance my career in so many ways. Some were subtle, like the networking opportunities that you never realize are going to turn out to be so much more than just meeting people; and some not-so-subtle ways, like the encouragement I received in learning how to research and prepare to speak with confidence as a subject matter expert.

The biggest help in my career is all of the information I have gained learning about education legislation and how it affects not only child nutrition but school districts as a whole. I feel that I can better collaborate with other departments in my district when I know what some of their legislative and financial challenges are and how we can all work together. It has helped me in speaking to and training many different groups of people, as well as managing staff in working toward a common goal.

How long have you been involved with CASBO?
I’ve been involved in CASBO for almost 14 years and have been a member for five years. During that time, I’ve served as the San Diego/Imperial Section representative on the CASBO Child Nutrition Professional Council; as chair of the San Diego/Imperial Section Child Nutrition Professional Council; and as a presenter at Annual Conference. Recently, I was elected to the position of section state director and serve as a member of the CASBO Board of Directors in that role.

Please list your school business accomplishments.
My accomplishments are the constant upward movement through all of the positions I’ve held to where I am now. From food services account clerk to multiple accounting technician roles (categoricals, food services and Medi-Cal administrative activities) to payroll specialist to food services business coordinator to my current position, the challenges of providing services to 200+ schools are always rewarding!

I oversee the budget, computers and software, and the meal application and claiming process. I enjoy finding ways to claim meals at the highest reimbursement available, like Community Eligibility and Provision 2. I always seek to streamline processes and save steps, like enabling parental email communications for our free and reduced system, affording communications delivery within hours instead of weeks, in turn allowing parents the opportunity to participate in the program sooner and increasing those engagement goals.

My role has also afforded me the opportunity to testify for a bill in the House (which passed), and serve as both a board and finance committee member for the Administrators Association of San Diego/American Federation of School Administrators, Local 134, AFL-CIO.

What advice would you give to a new school business professional?
Always learn about how your district runs as a whole and network with all departments. This allows you to not only improve the services you provide to your current department, but also helps you move up the ladder with the confidence of knowing what the position is about and how you fit in that big picture.

About Jennifer
Jennifer has a B.S. in recreation and tourism management. In high school and college, she worked in food services, in several hotel positions and at a financial management company, all of which made her feel like her whole career led her to her school business position. She lives in San Diego with her husband and their dog, Baxter. Together, they love exploring San Diego and enjoying its beautiful weather; and, when she can find the time (LOL!), Jennifer also loves to read and craft.