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Spokespersons

With over 10 years of supporting school districts nationwide, we are the foremost scratch-cook school food organization in the country. Operational experience and knowledge are built from experts, and we are happy to offer several spokespersons for press use.

To engage a CAF spokesperson, please contact Allison Ildefonso, Marketing and Communications Manager.

Spokespersons

With over 10 years of supporting school districts nationwide, we are the foremost scratch-cook school food organization in the country. Operational experience and knowledge are built from experts, and we are happy to offer several spokespersons for press use.

To engage a CAF spokesperson, please contact Allison Ildefonso, Marketing and Communications Manager.

Chef Ann Cooper

Founder & Board President

Chef Ann Cooper is an internationally recognized author, chef, educator, public speaker, and advocate of healthy food for all children. In a nation where kids are born with shorter estimated life expectancies than their parents due to diet-related disease, Chef Ann has been a constant champion of school food reform as an important avenue through which to improve childhood nutrition.

In 2009, Chef Ann founded the Chef Ann Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping schools take action so that every child has daily access to fresh, healthy food. Also known as the “Renegade Lunch Lady,“ Chef Ann serves as Director of Food Services for Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, Colorado, and is Partner of Lunch Lessons, LLC, a consultancy for school districts going through large-scale food change. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Ann has over 45 years of experience as a cook and chef, including 20 years in school food programs. To learn more about Ann, click here.

Key Focus Areas: school food change, healthy school meal operations, national school food issues, and scratch-cooked food

Chef Ann Cooper

Founder & Board President

Chef Ann Cooper is an internationally recognized author, chef, educator, public speaker, and advocate of healthy food for all children. In a nation where kids are born with shorter estimated life expectancies than their parents due to diet-related disease, Chef Ann has been a constant champion of school food reform as an important avenue through which to improve childhood nutrition.

In 2009, Chef Ann founded the Chef Ann Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping schools take action so that every child has daily access to fresh, healthy food. Also known as the “Renegade Lunch Lady,“ Chef Ann serves as Director of Food Services for Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, Colorado, and is Partner of Lunch Lessons, LLC, a consultancy for school districts going through large-scale food change. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Ann has over 45 years of experience as a cook and chef, including 20 years in school food programs. To learn more about Ann, click here.

Key Focus Areas: school food change, healthy school meal operations, national school food issues, and scratch-cooked food


Mara Fleishman

Chief Executive Officer

In 2001, Mara Fleishman turned her passion for healthy and sustainable food into a career by taking a position leading the marketing efforts for Whole Foods Market on the East Coast and in Europe.

For nearly six years, she worked to raise awareness of the importance of eating fresh, healthy food. After a move to Boulder, Colorado, Fleishman decided to join her kindergartener for lunch at school one day. Shocked by the highly processed, high-sugar lunch that she and her daughter were served, she began her crusade to reform school food.

In 2013, Fleishman left her position as Global Director of Partnerships with Whole Foods Market to work on school food reform in a full-time capacity as CEO of the Chef Ann Foundation. With three kids ranging from ages nine to eighteen, Mara brings a parent’s awareness to her work. Click here for Mara’s speaker resume.

Key Focus Areas: school food in the food system, healthy food and childhood wellness, school food advocacy, sustainable food practices

Mara Fleishman

Chief Executive Officer

In 2001, Mara Fleishman turned her passion for healthy and sustainable food into a career by taking a position leading the marketing efforts for Whole Foods Market on the East Coast and in Europe.

For nearly six years, she worked to raise awareness of the importance of eating fresh, healthy food. After a move to Boulder, Colorado, Fleishman decided to join her kindergartener for lunch at school one day. Shocked by the highly processed, high-sugar lunch that she and her daughter were served, she began her crusade to reform school food.

In 2013, Fleishman left her position as Global Director of Partnerships with Whole Foods Market to work on school food reform in a full-time capacity as CEO of the Chef Ann Foundation. With three kids ranging from ages nine to eighteen, Mara brings a parent’s awareness to her work. Click here for Mara’s speaker resume.

Key Focus Areas: school food in the food system, healthy food and childhood wellness, school food advocacy, sustainable food practices


Leslie Stafford

Chief Operating Officer

Leslie oversees all operational functions of the Chef Ann Foundation. She provides supervision and leadership for the management of financial accounting and reporting, budgeting, payroll, accounts payable, human resources, development, legal, and more.

Prior to joining the Chef Ann Foundation, Leslie was Chief Operating Officer for Boulder Valley School District for 20 years and has been a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Colorado since 1997.. At BVSD, her areas of responsibility included district operations, student enrollment, grants, food service, health services,community schools and all financial, budget and accounting functions of the district.

Key Focus Areas: school food finance, school district administration

Leslie Stafford

Chief Operating Officer

Leslie oversees all operational functions of the Chef Ann Foundation. She provides supervision and leadership for the management of financial accounting and reporting, budgeting, payroll, accounts payable, human resources, development, legal, and more.

Prior to joining the Chef Ann Foundation, Leslie was Chief Operating Officer for Boulder Valley School District for 20 years and has been a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Colorado since 1997.. At BVSD, her areas of responsibility included district operations, student enrollment, grants, food service, health services,community schools and all financial, budget and accounting functions of the district.

Key Focus Areas: school food finance, school district administration


Brandy Dreibelbis

Director of School Food Operations

Brandy oversees the school food operational elements of the Chef Ann Foundation, and uses her extensive experience to guide current and future work.

Brandy was previously the Director of Food Services at Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) in Napa, CA. Brandy was hired in 2017 as the first Director of Food Services of NVUSD and asked to transition the meal program from a food service company managed program to scratch cooked and self-operating.The district’s scratch cooked and self-operating meal program, referred to as NOSH, was awarded an Innovation Award in 2019 for Fresh and Sustainable Kitchens.

Prior to moving to Napa, Brandy spent 8 years as the Executive Chef and District Manager of the School Food Project for the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) in Boulder, CO. Brandy is also the former Executive Chef of the flagship Whole Foods Market Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. Prior to moving to Colorado, Brandy was the Executive Chef of the award-winning Blue Moon Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Key Focus Areas: school food operations, healthy school meal programs, culinary arts, school food nutrition, and scratch-cooked food

Brandy Dreibelbis

Director of School Food Operations

Brandy oversees the school food operational elements of the Chef Ann Foundation, and uses her extensive experience to guide current and future work.

Brandy was previously the Director of Food Services at Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) in Napa, CA. Brandy was hired in 2017 as the first Director of Food Services of NVUSD and asked to transition the meal program from a food service company managed program to scratch cooked and self-operating.The district’s scratch cooked and self-operating meal program, referred to as NOSH, was awarded an Innovation Award in 2019 for Fresh and Sustainable Kitchens.

Prior to moving to Napa, Brandy spent 8 years as the Executive Chef and District Manager of the School Food Project for the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) in Boulder, CO. Brandy is also the former Executive Chef of the flagship Whole Foods Market Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. Prior to moving to Colorado, Brandy was the Executive Chef of the award-winning Blue Moon Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Key Focus Areas: school food operations, healthy school meal programs, culinary arts, school food nutrition, and scratch-cooked food

Recommended Next Topic: About School Food

School food can be confusing and complicated - here’s a collection of high-level info, intended to provide the press with noteworthy facts and resources to help write about school food.

Recommended Next Topic: About School Food

School food can be confusing and complicated - here’s a collection of high-level info, intended to provide the press with noteworthy facts and resources to help write about school food.

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