She modestly calls herself a “warmer upper,” but with hundreds of hungry mouths to feed at , the District’s largest elementary school, Lead Nutrition Assistant I (i.e., Kitchen Manager) Janine Zambetti always has a lot of plates in the air. In addition to serving students nutritious food at six lunch periods, Janine gathers daily lunch counts, makes an educated guess about actual numbers (“I usually add 10% to items”), collects lunch money and keeps accounts current, even calling parents when necessary.
Janine also fulfills teacher requests, from the typical to the uncommon. In fact, while being interviewed for this Spotlight, she responded to a staff member who’d ducked into the office, saying, “Four hundred popsicles for Friday? That’s about 34 dozen. Sure, I’ll find a way!”
How did you end up in this job? As a child growing up in Long Beach and Lakewood, I’d always wanted to be a teacher. Then I became sidetracked by marriage and kids. In 1990, when my son was in fourth grade at Aviara Oaks Elementary, I began working as a Noon Duty Aide. Six years later, I became an official employee. I’ve been at Pacific Rim since it opened in 1999.
What’s your favorite CUSD lunch? Orange chicken and rice. It’s healthy and very tasty. I also have my own favorite breakfast. It’s called “Stop the Clock Oatmeal.” Contact me for the recipe; you’ll love it.
How about your favorite restaurant? Anita’s in Oceanside is the best. We’ve been eating their Mexican food since 1980.
What do you like best about your job? The children bring me such joy. I love the stories they tell me. No matter what else is going on, their sweet faces make it all worthwhile.
What impelled you to become one of your site’s District Wellness Champions? I had a gastric bypass three years ago. Now, I’m at the point where people often start gaining the weight back. I didn’t want to do that. I want to focus on being healthy. Also, my Principal (Robert Devich) “nominated” me!
What do you like to do when you’re not working? I love being by the ocean and watching my family surf. I also enjoy working with my flowers.
Tell us something people may not know about you. I have the same best friend (Tarrell Holderman) that I had when I was ten years old.
–Information taken from a press release