National Institute’s New Leader Passionate about Child Nutrition

OXFORD, Miss. – A school nutrition director for the past 22 years, Katie Wilson is now poised to lead the country’s authority on child nutrition programs. KatieWilson


Tapped as executive director of the National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi, Wilson’s appointment is effective July 1.

Becoming NFSMI’s director “is a dream come true for me,” she said. “Here I can be at an executive level, have impact nationally and still be involved with child nutrition. I’m so passionate about training; that’s what makes this a great fit.”

Wilson and the NFSMI already are exploring some innovative changes, including expanded opportunities for graduate education. Although NFSMI remains fully funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the institute merged with UM’s School of Applied Sciences in March.

“Dr. Wilson is known for her ability to build coalitions with allied organizations on school nutrition issues,” said UM’s Dean of Applied Sciences Linda Chitwood. “She is the ideal person to lead our institute as we assume a stronger role in policy formation and education, not only for school food service directors but also for the general public.”

The school nutrition director for Onalaska Public Schools in Onalaska, Wisc., Wilson chairs the board of the School Nutrition Foundation. She has worked with the United Nations, testified before Congress and briefed congressional and senate staff members. She’s also been interviewed by the Today Show, The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report and other national media outlets.

Wilson has directed school nutrition programs in three Wisconsin school districts and was president of the School Nutrition Association in 2008-09. She has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, a master’s in food science and nutrition and a doctoral degree in foodservice and lodging management.

Among her many state and national child nutrition awards is a USDA best practice award for her Junior Chefs Nutrition Education Program.

Established by Congress in 1989, NFSMI conducts research, provides information and offers educational programming on school nutrition. To learn more, visit