NFSMI Director Accepts Presidential Appointment

Katie Wilson takes role with USDA

Dr. Katie Wilson

Katie Wilson

OXFORD, Miss. – Katie Wilson, executive director of the National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi, has been appointed by President Barack Obama as deputy undersecretary of food, nutrition and consumer services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The role includes a variety of responsibilities, including oversight over the development of dietary guidelines and nutrition programs across the country.

“I have partnered with the USDA a number of times over the years,” Wilson said. “I’ve taken part in many of their expert panels on nutrition, so the connection has always been there.”

Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, contacted Wilson in January about the possibility of becoming deputy undersecretary. She accepted the job earlier this month.

“Katie has had a wealth of experience in school nutrition, serving in a variety of positions,” Concannon said. “She has testified before Congress and served in leadership roles in the School Nutrition Association. Her clear and lifelong passion for improving the health of schoolchildren and her vast experience in this field make her a perfect choice to hit the ground when she joins us later this spring.”

Wilson has served as NFSMI’s executive director since 2010. Established by Congress in 1989, the institute is the only federally funded center dedicated to education, training and technical assistance for child nutrition programs.

“I love NFSMI. It’s a passion of mine,” Wilson said. “We have developed a wonderful staff that’s very capable of doing their jobs. It’s sort of a sweet sorrow, but I’m not worried. The institute is in good hands.”

Velmer Burton, dean of the School of Applied Sciences, praised Wilson’s appointment, noting that she did an exemplary job as the institute’s director.

“Katie will truly be missed as she leaves for Washington, D.C.,” Burton said. “However, we are very excited for her in this new role, which naturally reflects well on Dr. Wilson, the talented NFSMI staff and the initiatives she has established as director here at the University of Mississippi.”

Wilson begins her new position May 1 at USDA, where she expects to begin discussions about national nutrition standards in schools.

“I believe children should have the highest quality of food in their schools,” she said. “We should be serving meals based on the science of nutrition.”