Christine Gatlin, GNMS Cafeteria Manager, Takes Serving Up a Notch
When Christine Gatlin’s friends told her about the family friendly work environment in Troup County School System (TCSS), she had to see it for herself. She left her job as a receptionist for a local haircare company and has been with the school system for five years. Since joining TCSS, she has worked in elementary, middle and high school settings. Most recently, she was named Cafeteria Manager for Gardner Newman Middle School.
“For me, it’s the people I work with. It’s the students, staff…everything! Middle schoolers are like grown little people. They are great. The students are respectful and responsible like the GNMS Way. I love them,” smiled Gatlin as she shared what makes her come to work every day.
Soon, the school will be highlighting nutritious meals that are served to students from their serving line, and Gatlin says this is not the only week they make students feel special when they come to the cafeteria, “We stand in the hallway greeting them good morning and encouraging them to come in and have breakfast. We have a big smile on our face but they really can’t see it through the mask! They can see the smile in our eyes, though. We try to have fun with them; singing and dancing. They kids seem to really enjoy it, and we do, too.”
The shutdown that took place in March due to the pandemic didn’t deter Gatlin and her crew of cafeteria employees. She said they just pulled together even more, “They closed down Gardner Newman’s cafeteria, but it didn’t matter where I ended up working. I always saw members from the Gardner Newman staff helping and volunteering with meals and anything else that needed to be done. It was amazing how everyone banded together.”
She continued, “Even when I saw the kids, not knowing what was going to happen, they were putting on a brave face. We were able to be there for the students and just remind them that we were happy to see them and not to be afraid.”
TCSS, like many businesses and organizations, continues to deep clean schools. Catlin is a witness that it’s no different in her cafeteria. She says it may take longer to deep clean, but it has been taken up a notch. “We’ve always worked hard to keep our cafeteria clean. No matter how long it takes, I like to make sure that everything is ready for my staff each morning and that I’ve done my due diligence to ensure their safety as well the student’s safety. I’m proud of my staff and the kids have acclimated very well to the changes.”