Stephen O’ Brien, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Policy
New York City Department of Education, Office of Food and Nutrition Services
Mr. O’Brien has worked over 30 years (since 1991) to improve school meals for The 1.1 million New York City children in all of the 32 school districts. He has a broad understanding of the complexities involved in delivering a quality service to students. He has overseen several changes and transformed school meals and cafeterias making them a model for districts across the country including: using more locally sourced foods, cutting out artificial ingredients, bringing salad bars to all schools, serving whole grains, getting compostable plates and utensils into cafeterias, developing a citywide emergency food response plan and getting students engaged in the meal service. Mr. O’Brien has been honored for his work and participates in conferences and events that educate communities about school meals and nutrition education programming as well as model practices for engaging and educating parents about School Meals. He is a founder and key leader within the Urban School Food Alliance, a collection of the largest school districts in the United States, where he supports large scale market change to improve the quality of meals offered nationally. Mr. O’Brien holds an A.O.S in Culinary Arts, a B.S. in Food Service Management with a minor in Secondary Education from Johnson & Wales University, Is a certified teacher, has an ECornell Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition and an a Master of Public Administration, from Baruch College, City University of New York. He volunteers his time to facilitate international student exchange programs, mentors students at Baruch College CUNY and enjoys traveling.