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“Queen of Kitchen” Kelly Schultz honored as School Lunch Hero

Kaitlyn Riley

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The “Queen of the Kitchen” is taking off her crown, but earned a cape in its place.

Friday marked School Lunch Hero Day, and the La Crosse School District honored Kelly Schultz in a surprise ceremony at Southern Bluffs Elementary School.

Schultz started in the district by working nights in the bakery at Logan High School in 1981.

“We baked everything for all of the schools,” Schultz said.

From Logan High School, she went to Central High. Today, she is an assistant nutrition manager for the School District of La Crosse but has plans to retire this summer. It is a bittersweet end to her career, especially with schools closed because of COVID-19.

“For me, the part I miss the most are the kids,” Schultz said. “That’s why we’re here. We’re here for kids. They just pull your heartstrings.”

She recalled feeding multiple generations of students in her time with the school district.

“It’s kind of fun it’s like, wait a minute, I think your parent went here.”

In retirement, Schultz planned to take over her husband’s role in the kitchen and see what else calls to her.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in both radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.