By Jessica Gudmundson, Interim Executive Director, and Miguel Villarreal, Advisory Board Chair

In December 2018, the National Farm to School Network Advisory Board announced the beginning of an Executive Director search to identify the next leader of the National Farm to School Network. After an extensive search process led by members of the Advisory Board, we are pleased to announce that Helen Dombalis has been selected as Executive Director, beginning May 15, 2019.

The Transition Committee received more than 100 applications from candidates across the country for the Executive Director position. Over the past five months, the committee conducted a rigorous and thorough process of reviewing these applications and holding multiple stages of interviews with numerous well-qualified candidates. National Farm to School Network staff and Core and Supporting Partners also participated and provided feedback during various stages of this process.

With significant consideration given to the skills, experiences and expertise needed to successfully guide the National Farm to School Network in its next phase of growth, the Advisory Board has selected Helen Dombalis to serve in this important leadership role. Helen’s current position as National Farm to School Network’s Senior Director of Program and Policy - and nearly ten-year history of working with NFSN and partner organizations - have distinguished her as a nationally recognized leader in cultivating equitable food systems through strategic farm to school partnerships and policy advocacy. Helen’s farm to school expertise, leadership skills, commitment to racial and social equity, and experience with the organization’s partners and funders make her an exceptional individual for the role of Executive Director. We are confident that under her leadership, the organization’s success and impact in achieving its mission and vision will continue to flourish.

Please join us and the Advisory Board in welcoming Helen as Executive Director by making a donation and showing your support for National Farm to School Network’s new leadership! Your financial support helps National Farm to School Network accomplish our important work, and your donation today will help usher in an exciting new chapter for the organization. You can also send your congratulations to Helen by posting on the National Farm to School Network’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.


We are grateful to the other members of the Transition Committee (Haile Johnston, Johanna Herron, Dan Carmody and Diane Harris), as well as the full board, staff, partners and the entire National Farm to School Network community for your engagement and support throughout this important process.

As the National Farm to School Network begins its next chapter, there is much to be excited about as we continue innovating, strategizing and strengthening this important movement. Staff and partners have been busy developing the organization’s 2020-2022 strategic plan, planning for the 2020 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference and releasing new resources like the Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool for Farm to School Programs and Policy and State Farm to School Policy Handbook: 2002-2018. And we’re not even half-way through 2019!

We thank you all for your continued support and partnership as we welcome Helen into her new role. May we continue growing stronger together!

- Jessica Gudmundson and Miguel Villarreal