The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 22, 2014

Meet Your Neighbor: Leah Steinmann

By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — CLINTON — When at home, Leah Steinmann, of Clinton, usually does not cook, letting her husband handle those duties. However, during an average weekday, she and eight other staff members prepare almost 400 lunches and 130 breakfasts for elementary students.

Cook manager at Eagle Heights Elementary School, Leah loves working with her co-workers, feeding the students. For her, interacting with the children is the best part.

“I really like the kids. I have a passion for the kids and meeting their nutrition needs,” Leah said.

Leah is always there to make a child smile and learn his or her name. She said some of the students even refer to her as grandma, while others recognize her at the store and stop her.

“It’s important for you to smile. It’s important for you to say hello. It’s important for you to make the kids feel comfortable,” Leah said.

The Clinton High graduate has been providing good nutrition for students in the Clinton School District for almost 24 years. When Leah was younger, her mother worked in the Jefferson Elementary School cafeteria. Leah began substituting in the cafeteria and was hired at Washington Middle School, slowly working her way up.

Leah worked at Washington Middle School while all three of her sons attended the school. She remained there 17 years before moving to Eagle Heights.

Leah said nutrition is important for the food staff. The cafeteria has recently switched to whole grain breads and added several more unique vegetables, like brussel sprouts, beets and stewed tomatoes. The staff encourages students to try them.

“As kids, there were some vegetables we didn’t like, so there are some we know they’re not going to eat,” Leah said. “But we offer it to them.”

When not at work, Leah enjoys camping and kayaking. She also recently joined a fitness club.