Our service members receive extensive training to unlock their potential as effective educators. After a year of service, they are well prepared to pursue careers in K-12 teaching and nonprofit education. The majority of our alumni continue to work in this field after service.

We continue to support these academically minded alums in their development as educators through additional career coaching opportunities.



Kira McNealy

Nutrition Education Program Coordinator for Share Our Strength

CA ’16

Kira’s two terms with FoodCorps took her bicoastal: she served in Waterbury, Connecticut, and then in San Diego, California. She was hired on by her service site, the Food and Nutrition Services department of San Diego Unified School District, to work as a Student and Community School Food Ambassador, working to increase school breakfast and lunch participation through projects like taste tests and focus groups to engage students in authentic conversations about food. She is now working at Share Our Strength in D.C. as a Nutrition Education Program Coordinator for the Cooking Matters program. In this role, she continues to equip children and families with the knowledge and tools to live a healthy lifestyle within their means.

“Without FoodCorps I absolutely would not be where I am today—both successes and failures, the relationships built, the ambiguity and discomfort, the interactions I had with those that were just like me and those that couldn’t be more different all contributed to my personal and professional advancements.”

Shannon Newerth-Henson

Shannon Newerth-Henson

Garden Educator, Center for Child Development and Family Education; Western Arkansas Child Development, Inc.

AR ‘19

In her role, Shannon teaches garden-based nutrition education to students ages 2-5. She also maintains school gardens with students at two school locations in Crawford County, Arkansas. After serving with FoodCorps, Shannon earned her Master Gardener certification through the University of Arkansas Extension. As a Master Gardener, she’s been serving at the Learning Fields at Chaffee Crossing by helping to restore a wildflower meadow there and to create an insect hotel. She has also served at the Popeye Garden in Alma and at the Crawford County Extension Office. Her favorite project to date? Helping to maintain a native plant garden at Alma Primary School.

“I wouldn’t be in my current position if it had not been for my year of service with FoodCorps. Prior to serving with FoodCorps, I had absolutely no teaching experience. My year of service in two elementary schools provided me with foundational teaching skills. I learned about organization, lesson planning, incorporating standards, and creating lessons for all learning types. Despite having a bachelor’s degree in Plant Science from Purdue University, I had little to no experience gardening outdoors; many of our labs required us to use industrial greenhouses. In FoodCorps, I had my first real experiences with gardening hands-on in the school gardens. I was able to put much of what I had learned at Purdue University to practical use for the first time outside of a lab. I wouldn’t be able to care for the two school gardens that I currently maintain had I not served in FoodCorps.” – Shannon Newerth-Henson