Member Spotlight

Highlighting Our Incredible VAND Members!

Andrea Early, MS, RD


Professional Position: Executive Director of School Nutrition, Harrisonburg City Public Schools since 2003.  Prior to that I served as WIC Coordinator and Nutritionist Supervisor for the Central Shenandoah Health District in Staunton.

Favorite food: You’re asking a dietitian to pick a favorite food?!  I LOVE to eat and am generally thinking about my next meal as I eat the current meal!  If I had to pick my number one favorite (not based on nutritional content) it would be potato chips.  I love the taste of them.  So much.  All the kinds.  All the flavors.

What do you love most about your job or being an RD? I love being in schools and seeing kids get excited about trying new foods (especially new fruits and veggies).

How did you get started in your career? I’ve been interested in nutrition and wellness ever since I started running cross country in high school.  I never considered any other career options!  My first job was a WIC nutritionist at a clinic in Pennsylvania.

What is something you like to do for fun? I attend as many live concerts as my schedule and budget allow.  I sing loudly and dance wildly.

Proudest moment as an RD and/or professional achievements? This summer we converted a bus from a library Bookmobile to a “Mobile Cafe” which we used to expand our summer meals program.  The Cafe visited four neighborhoods to serve lunches at no cost M – F during the weeks of summer break.  During the school year, the Mobile Cafe serves as a hub for nutrition education activities.

Advice for students, interns, and new members? Consider school nutrition as a career option!  I never considered it until I spent 12 weeks of my dietetic internship in a school setting in Albemarle County.  I instantly knew that if a director’s position in school nutrition opened up, I was going to apply.  No day goes by slowly or is boring and the challenges are so worth it when you see kids eating the meals that you plan.

Favorite Quote: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein

Congratulations to Andrea for being such an important part of our profession!

Do you know a VAND member who deserves to shine in the spotlight?  Send nominations to  We would love to hear from you!