Johnson is among the state’s school breakfast champions

March 14 — Livermore Elementary School cafeteria manager Angela “Gay” Johnson was recognized statewide last week for her work promoting breakfast to students.

Johnson was one of 11 from seven school districts to receive the title of Kentucky School Breakfast Champion from No Kid Hungry Kentucky and The Dairy Alliance as part of National School Breakfast Week.

“I thought the whole kitchen staff deserved this award, not just me,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t do it without the ladies.”

According to the No Kid Hungry Kentucky website, students with regular access to nutritious food have “significantly lower” rates of behavioral, emotional and educational problems.

Johnson agrees.

“I think breakfast helps students study better,” he said. “Kids can’t focus when they’re hungry, and if they can start the day off right, they’re ready to learn.”

Why do students do what Johnson does?

“I love children,” she said. “There’s a lot going on in a kid’s life that you never know, so I want to make sure they’re fed. I want to see them happy and it’s all about them.”

Not only did Johnson receive this all-state honor, she was honored by the McLean County Public Schools District with the 2022-23 Food Service Employee of the Year award.

“(Johnson) is energetic and has an infectious positive attitude,” said Melody Chelstrom, MCPS director of food services. “He’s been with the county and Livermore for over 20 years and you can see his commitment to the school system.”

Chelstrom Johnson said she “works tirelessly” to make sure students have access to breakfast at school.

“He deserves this award and he’s a rock star,” Chelstrom said.

Livermore Elementary Principal Kelly Melton said there are many reasons why breakfast is an important meal for students.

“They start the weekend with a positive relationship with the kitchen staff,” he said. “They see smiling faces that are welcoming and positive. Not everyone accepts this at home.”

When it comes to Johnson’s work, Melton says he’s proud of it.

“There is no one more worthy,” he said. “She comes in early and stays late and always has an infectious energy and smile. It is fitting and a blessing.”

For a complete list of the 2023 Kentucky School Breakfast Champions and additional nutrition facts, visit