Meet Our Chefs

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Westminster Center School

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Melissa Bacon
School Nutrition Site Manager

melissa.bacon@wnesu.com


Born and raised in Vermont, after college Melissa decided to move back raise her family here.  When both kids started attending school, she started her culinary career at Westminster Center School working with Harley.  She quickly discovered that her talents in the kitchen, and love of nourishing people were a recipe for success.  Melissa found a passion for combining great ingredients into soul satisfying dishes!  When she’s not cooking, her time is spent enjoying all the different activities that Vermont has to offer with her family!

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Sarah Allaire
School Nutrition Assistant


Sarah is a native Vermonter who began working in school kitchens 12 years ago when her son started kindergarten.  She draws inspiration from knowing that she helps kids eat good, healthy meals. In her spare time she likes to garden, read, do crafting and spend time with her Husband Dana and son Ben.

Central Elementary School

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Erica Frank
School Nutrition Site Manager

erica.frank@wnesu.com

 

Erica comes to the Nutrition Team as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a background in community nutrition and counseling.  Prior to earning her degree in Nutrition, she was a baker for several years in Vermont and Oregon. She is happy to be able to bring together her passion for home cooked meals and helping kids with their nutrition intake.  She lives locally with her partner, 2 kids, and 3 cats.

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Bethany Coursen

School Nutrition Assistant
 

Bethany joins our team having worked many years in the classroom with various aged students.  She sought a new challenge by looking to make an impact on school food, and working in the kitchen she's come a long way from the days when she would only buy precut bagels. 

Bethany lives in Bartonville, VT with her husband Scott, 2 extremely friendly cats, and a lot of chickens!

Bellows Falls Union High School

Thristan Coke
School Nutrition Site Manager & Catering Coordinator

thristan.coke@wnesu.com

Thristan grew up in Savanna-La-mar, Jamaica. He has been cooking since since he was 8 years old, and working as a professional chef for over 6 years.  Thristan’s cooking is all about flavor because that is a big part of the culture he grew up in-- he’s excited to bring that spirit to everything he makes.

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Pam Kissell
School Nutrition Assistant

 

Along with her friendly smile and warm, positive energy, Pam brings over 18 years experience in food service to our team.  Starting the day early making our famous breakfast sandwiches, she also loves to scratch cook for our salad and sandwich bar, and excels at keeping the kitchen clean an organized.   A BFUHS 79' alumni, Pam currently lives in North Springfield.  When she is not busy serving up great food or making us laugh, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. 

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Wendy Herbert
School Nutrition Assistant

Bellows Falls Middle School

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Pat Donaghue
School Nutrition Site Manager

Bellows Falls Middle School

pat.donaghue@wnesu.com

Pat has been interested in cooking since she was a senior in high school.  She first learned about school food programs when volunteering at her daughter's elementary school in Nashua, NH.  It wasn't long before she was asked to run the program when the current director retired.  Since then, Pat has never looked back, sharpening her skills and learning along the way. In the summer months she is the food service director of a summer camp and when not working enjoys spending time with her family and playing with her grandchildren.

 

Meghan Weir
School Nutrition Assistant

Hey y’all! Originally from North Carolina I moved up here 3 years ago to be closer to family. I started in child nutrition when my oldest started kindergarten, which was 8  years ago! When I’m not working I play taxi to my 2 kids, Aiden & Karlie who are always very busy with sports. I also love to read, spend time with my family, shop and I am always trying to find the chance to go back down south!

Saxtons River & Grafton Elementary School

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Linda Kinney
School Nutrition Site Manager

 

Saxtons River Elementary and Grafton Elementary
linda.kinney@wnesu.com


It was her junior year at Bellows Falls Union High School when Linda signed up for a Quantity Foods class in Springfield, an experience she credits with launching her career as a professional cook.   Soon after graduation, she began baking for all of the schools in the Rockingham district where she quickly excelled into a position as head cook at the Saxtons River Elementary School. The rest was history. This will be Linda’s 33rd year using her love of cooking to warm hearts and bring smiles to faces at SRES.  When she is not whipping up her magic in the kitchen she has her husband Gary, two daughters, and five grandchildren who keep her very busy.

Lori McDermid
School Nutrition Assistant

Lori has been at Saxtons River and Grafton Elementary for 3 years where she also assists with the Summer Food Program.  Lori credits much of what she has learned to Linda Kinney's amazing mentorship.

 

Lori lives in Rockingham with her husband and two children. 

WNESU

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Harley Sterling
School Nutrition Director

Windham Northeast Supervisory Union

harley.sterling@wnesu.com

Harley specializes in nutrient-dense scratch cooking that explores the balance between  gourmet and down-to-earth.   He works to source the the best local ingredients, prepare them with care and simplicity, and is always seeking ways to make the best food accessible to everyone. 

As a food activist and chef, Harley has drawn inspiration from his work at restaurants, and his time on organic farms in Oregon where he cultivated a connection between nature, food, and community.  As the Galley Coordinator for the Schooner Adventuress in Puget Sound, WA, he became engaged with expanding access to high quality local and organic food for kids.

Harley graduated with a B.S. in psychology and minor in biology from the University of Vermont.  He lives with his family in Keene, NH.

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