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GaDOE State School Nutrition Director honored

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office,

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January 4, 2024 – Dr. Linette Dodson, the Georgia Department of Education’s State School Nutrition Director, has been recognized by Voices for Georgia’s Children with their Big Voices for Children award.

“School Nutrition is my passion, and it is a privilege to serve at the Georgia Department of Education as the School Nutrition Director,” Dr. Dodson said. “The Big Voices for Children recognition is an honor not only for me but all Georgia School Nutrition Program staff. Fueling Georgia’s Future with quality school meals is the state agency’s focus in supporting our local Georgia districts.” ​

Voices for Georgia’s Children honored Dr. Dodson for her vision and rapid response serving Georgia’s schools during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.   

On March 12, 2020, Dr. Dodson was in meetings with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was monitoring the situation and considering creative solutions when she asked federal administrators if a waiver to allow remote food service would be possible. This was the start of a new policy –USDA allowed Georgia to have one of the first waivers (even before putting out a call for waivers) based on Dr. Dodson’s innovative idea. Overall, 160 of Georgia’s 181 school districts used the waivers to get food to their students. Dr. Dodson’s team was instrumental in providing guidance and ideas about leveraging the possibilities of this new policy waiver.


“Georgia’s model encouraged local school districts, and they really stepped up for Georgia’s children,” Dr. Dodson said. “Many partnered with local food banks to deliver whole meal sets for families, including ‘Farmers to Families’ boxes of fruits and vegetables. Teachers, bus drivers, principals, and other school staff joined school nutrition staff to get the meals out to families where they lived.”


"Dr. Dodson's passion, innovation, and leadership have been instrumental in driving the success of her team,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Her love for Georgia students and school nutrition is evident in her dedication and enthusiasm. Dr. Dodson's commitment to excellence and ability to inspire others make her a true asset to the Georgia Department of Education. I extend my sincerest congratulations for her well-deserved Big Voice for Students recognition.” 


Dr. Dodson has served as the State School Nutrition Director at GaDOE since April 1, 2019. Prior to joining the Georgia Department of Education, she served as the Director of School Nutrition for Carrollton City Schools in Carrollton, Georgia, for over 19 years. Linette completed her Ph.D. in Foodservice and Hospitality Management from Iowa State University in May 2014, where her research focused on registered dietitians in school nutrition leadership roles. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Alabama and a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University.​