A Man With a Healthy Plan: Welcoming FCPS’ New Head of Food and Nutrition Services

October 09, 2023

It’s time for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) students to say farewell to processed corn dogs and sugary breakfast items, and hello to healthy global dishes, ample fresh fruit and veggies, and a program of scratch-made cooking.

Alongside incoming Executive Director Shaun Sawko, FCPS' Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) team will be rolling out improvements to their menu that better reflect the diversity of our student body and focus on fresh, healthy food.

FNS is developing new scratch-made hot breakfast sandwiches and freshly made fruit and yogurt parfaits for students as they start their school day. 

For lunch, there will be 12 new items this fall alone. The new offerings include black bean burgers, chicken parmesan sandwiches, chicken fajitas, meatball marinara subs, fresh garden vegetable flatbread, and BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches. Offerings will also include a Veggie Wrapadilla, which was inspired by a group of Franklin Middle School students who won a school lunch recipe competition last year that was coordinated by our partners, Real Food for Kids.

Shaun Sawko sitting at a table with students from Annandale Terrace Elementary School
Shaun Sawko and his team are excited about switching to healthier menu items this year.

“Over the coming months, we will be introducing new menu options to our schools that focus on plant-based proteins that are more inclusive of our Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher, and Halal families,” Sawko said. “It is important that our menus reflect the students that we serve and also that we provide as much access to fresh, locally sourced fruits and vegetables as possible in our meals.”

Sawko stood in the cafeteria at Annandale Terrace on the first day of school.
Sawko is working closely with students across all grades to make sure their voice is heard.

The menu changes follow another FCPS initiative that ensured each of our schools has salad bars in their cafeteria this year. Sawko also plans to deepen relationships with local farms and producers, as the district aims to illustrate the concept of farm-to-table eating in our schools and bring scratch-cooking to all schools.

“We know, and research supports, that students learn better when they have access to healthy food,” FCPS Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid said. “Last year, Food and Nutrition Services served more than 18 million meals to our students, including approximately 60,000 who qualify for free or reduced-price meals. I am so grateful to Shaun and our entire Food and Nutrition Services team for ensuring that our students start and end their days well-nourished.”

Sawko standing in line with students as they wait for lunch.
In November, students will have the opportunity to taste-test dozens of new menu items with the favorite dishes appearing on menus. 


Student voice will be central to changes as well, Sawko said. In November, Sawko and his team will be inviting more than 200 students from across elementary, middle, and high schools to taste test around 30 different menu concepts at a showcase event in Fairfax County.

“I am excited about the opportunity to transform the way we serve our students’ nutritional needs,” he said.