By Chloe Miller

Head lunch lady Michelle Kile prepares for the day’s lunch Thursday, Jan. 26

Michelle Kile enters sixth year of food service leadership

With the lunchroom understaffed, the lead cafeteria lady has adapted to multitasking and increased responsibility

Each day, lead cafeteria lady Michelle Kile arrives at school by 5:30 a.m., long before students come in for breakfast. To get a head start on her busy days, early mornings are a necessity. 

Kile has been working at Mill Valley for nine years, six of which have been spent in the lead . Currently, the lunch team is experiencing understaffing which means there is more work to do. 

“I’m multitasking as multiple people,” Kile said. “When I get here I unlock everything, turn everything on, cook breakfast, bake the cookies… order food, pan up food, cook food and clean up.” 

The list of daily responsibilities goes on. Kile juggles her roles of the cook and the lead cafeteria lady. All food orders and product shipments are handled by her, which requires diligence and patience. 

“There’s difficulties,” Kile said, “We can’t get a lot of our product in sometimes and we have to adjust… and we’re all working a lot more hours than we’re supposed to.” 

Kile also mentioned that many of the ladies have young children at home, making absences unpredictable at times. When this happens, Kile and the ladies must distribute their work evenly and possibly even change the menu to accommodate less staff. 

Despite the challenges of a heavy workload, Kile continues to prioritize her team and their friendships above all. When asked about her favorite part of the job, she insisted it was the people. 

“I like them all,” Kile said, “We get along really well like a small, little family. We hang out outside of work.” 

The dynamic the team shares is what helps them efficiently move through their days. In the morning they joke around, listen to music and prepare for lunch. Then, Kile delegates tasks and makes sure everything is running smoothly once the chaotic lunch hour rolls around. 

During lunch, many students stop to chat and thank the ladies for their hard work. One of these students is junior Taylor Hey. 

I try to show my appreciation towards them by talking to them whenever I see them,” Hey said. “I also thank them for everything they do and how kind they are.” 

Students are not the only ones who are grateful. The lunch team all appreciate Kile’s character and hard work. Debbie Unger, a cafeteria lady of nine years, explained why Kile makes a great leader. 

“Michelle’s really chill,” Unger said, “She doesn’t micromanage. She lets you do what you want to do as long as the job gets done… [we have] an awesome boss.” 


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