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Local School District

301 South Oak Street
West Lafayette, OH 43845
Telephone: 740-545-6354
Fax: 740-545-6336

Aces of Trades: Ridgewood Food Services Director Michelle Stoffer

“I wanted to be a teacher growing up,” recalled Michelle Stoffer. “But college was something we couldn’t afford. I started babysitting at 15 and have never been without a job, sometimes two. I was raised to be hardworking and dependable. But I never dreamed I would be doing what I’m doing.” Today, Stoffer is the food service director for the Ridgewood Local School District. “I oversee the district lunch and breakfast programs,” she explained. “I have 12 cooks that I’m responsible for.” Stoffer grew up in West Lafayette and graduated from Ridgewood in 1987. She was a licensed insurance agent for 10 years prior to her employment with the schools. “I was a classroom aide,” she said, “and an opportunity opened up in food service in 2014 and I’ve been doing it since then. I had no idea what I was getting into. People don’t understand how many rules and regulations there are. I try to do what’s best for the kids while following the state guidelines,” she added. “There’s nothing more important than feeding our students warm, healthy meals.” But there’s more. “I’m also the school adviser of Teen Institute,” Stoffer noted. “It’s made up of juniors and seniors and we do community service projects. We have two that we’re active with. The first one is going over to Mrs. Larrison’s preschool class. We go over to her room every month and spend time helping her students with an activity. “The second project we’re involved with,” she continued, “is going to Gabrail Cancer Center in Canton every Christmas. I had this group of students, and I was looking for something they could do and make an impact on. Dr. Gabrail thought it would be great for his patients for us to come at Christmas. We make the patients blankets and treat bags. It’s really great for the students to be a part of doing things for others. Every year the day is so rewarding. We pass out our gifts and sing Christmas carols to the patients.” Mike Masloski is superintendent of the Ridgewood Local School District. “Michelle has excelled as the food service director, but her effectiveness extends beyond the kitchen,” assessed Masloski. “She has cultivated strong relationships with students, staff, and the community. Her personable approach and active engagement with students have created a welcoming atmosphere during mealtimes, fostering a sense of community within the school.” “In her role as an adviser for Teen Institute,” Masloski added, “Michelle has played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between generations in meaningful community service projects. Her dedication to instilling a sense of social responsibility not only benefits the immediate school community, but also instills valuable life skills and empathy in the participating students. ”I feel very blessed to be at Ridgewood,” Stoffer responded. “It’s a great place to live and work.”   

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