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February 20, 2014

Ida Daniels rises in school career in Hamilton

Elected as only third African American president of Florida School Nutrition Association

Jasper — Hamilton County resident Ida Lue Daniels has seen her share of racial inequality growing up in the Deep South, but has gone on to great heights of success in her career. Daniels is currently Food and Nutrition Service Coordinator for Hamilton County Schools.

Daniels was born and raised in Albany, Ga. and grew up during the height of the Civil Rights movement. This was the same city where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others marched for civil rights and were jailed for their efforts, Daniels explained.

She is the youngest daughter of six children; four boys and two girls. She graduated from high school in the early 70s, got married a year after graduation, and moved to Hamilton County in 1981 with her husband, who is a native of Hamilton County. They have four children who all attended Hamilton County schools.

“When our youngest two children were approaching school age I returned to school and earned a diploma in Data Processing and Accounting from (at that time) Valdosta Technical School,” said Daniels.

After graduating from Valdosta Tech in the fall of 1987, she began her employment with the Hamilton County School District as a clerk/typist in the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS) department. She subsequently enrolled at Valdosta State University where she earned an AAS and a BAS in Technical Studies.

“Later, I became only the second person in Hamilton County hired as the food service coordinator (director),” said Daniels. “I continued my education and earned a master’s degree in instructional technology.”

Her career continued to soar when she was elected president-elect of the Florida School Nutrition Association (FSNA) for the 2012-13 school year.

“I am currently serving as president for the 2013-14 school year,” she said. “I am only the third African American to hold the position of president for FSNA.”

Daniels has also served as a region director-elect and region director for FSNA Region II. There are 13 districts in Region II stretching from Gadsden County to Alachua County. 

“The opportunity to serve on the board of FSNA has been very rewarding and a most memorable milestone in my life,” Daniels said.

When asked who gave her the most inspiration to succeed in life, Daniels gave the credit to her mother.

“She was a great wife, mother, Christian and community leader,” said Daniels. “She showed me the importance of getting involved in your child’s education and community. She was also my cafeteria manager working alongside a sister-in law and her best friend. She never came home complaining about neither her job nor her workers.”

Daniels said she is certain her mother, who passed away at age 62, less than a year after retiring from the same industry, would be proud of all the things she has accomplished.

She commented, “The things I do as a food nutrition specialist must meet the standards of the one I think was the best; my mom!”

Daniels said she also holds great admiration for Shirley Sherrod, a prominent African American woman who hails from her hometown of Albany.

“Shirley was abruptly asked to resign after someone took a speech out of context, which led to her dismissal from her position as Georgia state director of development for the United States Department of Agriculture,” said Daniels.

Sherrod’s book, “The Courage To Hope” – How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear”, is one that Daniels said she had the opportunity to read.

“As I see it, there still remains inequality all around us in race, gender and age in all areas of society,” Daniels said. “People of color are most often judged by the color of their skin, not the content of their character. It would be wonderful if the first consideration is that we are all of the “human race” and then Americans.”

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