Our Program Experts
New England Dairy & Food Council is staffed by registered dietitians located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont. These qualified food and nutrition experts can provide credible, timely information and explain the latest nutrition research in easy to understand terms. If you are interested in learning more about Fuel Up to Play 60 in your school, please contact the Nutrition Specialist in your area.
Lisa Burnett, RD, LDN, SNS
Vice President, Nutrition & School Programs
A member of the New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) team since 2006, Lisa is currently serving as Vice President of School and Nutrition Programs. Her responsibilities include leading a team of nine registered dietitians in MA, CT, RI, NH and VT who provide nutrition education and resources to health professionals, the media, consumers, educators and child nutrition professionals in their respective states.
Lisa attended Simmons College in Boston where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition with a minor in Communications and completed her dietetic internship with Sodexo. Lisa is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a licensed dietitian/nutritionist in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Although she spent several years working a variety of clinical and long-term care facilities, Lisa’s interests have always centered on wellness in school and community settings. Prior to her employment with NEDFC, she spent eight years as a school nutrition director in two Massachusetts towns. In her role at NEDFC, Lisa enjoys connecting schools and other health and wellness professionals to science-based information and effective programs that further a positive approach to nutrition and health.
She is proud to represent the dairy farm families of New England and Eastern New York who are also dedicated to making a difference in their communities and in the lives of kids.
Lisa is a member of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Massachusetts Dietetic Association, the School Nutrition Association and Action for Healthy Kids. In 2005, she earned the School Nutrition Association’s School Nutrition Specialist credential by meeting academic and work experience criteria and passing a national standardized exam covering the knowledge and competencies necessary to manage school nutrition programs.
Erin Wholey, RD, LDN
Director, Youth Wellness Programs
Massachusetts (Suffolk County)
Erin is a registered dietitian in the Boston office and helps manage outreach and collaboration with New England Dairy & Food Council’s partner organizations across New England; including health professional, school and government partners. In this role, she assists staff in the development of continued education opportunities for partners, the creation of nutrition education materials and promotional resources, and planning special events or campaigns that help promote dairy as part of a healthy lifestyle. Erin also works with schools in Suffolk County, Massachusetts to help with the implementation of Fuel Up to Play 60, school wellness program that increases access to healthy foods and physical activity. Erin is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and is currently serving as Secretary-Elect for the Massachusetts Dietetic Association. Previously, she served as Mentoring Chair. She is also active in the Massachusetts School Nutrition Association and Massachusetts Action for Healthy Kids.
Previously Erin worked as a clinical nutrition specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital where she provided individualized nutrition recommendations and counseling to a variety of pediatric populations. Erin has a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed her dietetic internship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and holds a certificate of training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
In her free time Erin enjoys being active. Some of her favorite activities including yoga, running and hiking with her husband. After exercise, she looks forward to refueling with a glass of chocolate milk. Friends and family members are well aware of Erin’s long-time love of chocolate milk!
Jill Read, RD, LDN
Massachusetts (Middlesex and Norfolk Counties)
As a Nutrition Specialist, Jill works with schools in Middlesex and Norfolk Counties to implement Fuel Up to Play 60, the Dairy Council’s in-school healthy eating and physical activity program. Additionally, she coordinates with partner organizations to implement the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge and has organized the Massachusetts School Breakfast Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as Action for Healthy Kids and School Nutrition Association.
Prior to joining New England Dairy & Food Council, Jill worked for the Maryland State Department of Education in Baltimore as a Program Specialist with School and Community Nutrition Programs. Jill provided nutrition assistance for USDA nutrition programs including School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Previously, Jill worked as the clinical nutrition manager at The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt Health System in Baltimore. There, she counseled patients in both inpatient and outpatient levels of care.
Jill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise from Virginia Tech and completed her dietetic internship at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
Massachusetts (Essex County)
As a Program Specialist, Lisanne works with schools in Essex County to implement Fuel Up to Play 60, Dairy Council’s in-school healthy eating and physical activity program. Additionally, she creates and designs materials and communications that help to promote the program throughout New England’s schools.
Diane Krol, RD, LDN
Program Manager, School Wellness
Massachusetts (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and western Worcester Counties)
Diane Krol, RD has worked at New England Dairy & Food Council for 30 years.
Diane is responsible for implementing nutrition education programs in area schools and local health education organizations, providing nutrition resources for health professionals, and executing local campaigns to increase the visibility of New England dairy foods.
Diane holds a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Syracuse University. She is currently a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Western Massachusetts Dietetic Association, and Massachusetts Action for Healthy Kids. Additionally, she is a member of the Massachusetts Farm to School Leadership Team and the University of Massachusetts Nutrition Program Advisory Board.
Diane grew up on a dairy farm in New York State. Her unique background has fueled her passion to help preserve the values of dairy farming — love of family, connection to the land, and responsible animal care. She is also very proud to work for an organization that has over a century of excellence in nutrition education that is based on sound science and is supported by dairy farmers.
A mother of two, she lives in the Berkshires with her husband and teenage son. She’s active in her community and school district where she serves on School Council and is a regular fixture at her son’s high school sporting events. Of course, the fridge is always stocked with plenty of ice cold milk for after the game!
Hilary Walentuk, MS, RD, LDN
Massachusetts (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, Plymouth, and eastern Worcester counties)
Hilary is a registered dietitian and Nutrition Specialist for New England Dairy & Food Council. She works with schools in Central and Southeastern Massachusetts to implement Fuel Up to Play 60, the Dairy Council’s in-school healthy eating and physical activity program.
Additionally, Hilary develops and executes programs and promotions that support dairy’s role throughout school wellness and the larger community. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition dietetic practice group.
Prior to joining New England Dairy & Food Council, Hilary worked as a clinical dietitian at Norwood Hospital, where she provided nutrition recommendations and counseling to adults and was responsible for designing and implementing the nutrition curriculum for the Cardiac Rehabilitation program. Hilary currently volunteers as a nutrition instructor with Cooking Matters, where she educates adults and teens on making healthy choices in their kitchens and communities.
Hilary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and completed both her Master of Science in Food and Nutrition and dietetic internship through Framingham State University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics.
In her free time, Hilary can often be found on the hiking trails. She is currently working to hike the 48-4,000 footers of the White Mountain National Forest. When not on the trails, Hilary is usually in the kitchen experimenting with recipes, often involving dairy!
Heidi Harkopf, MS, RD
Director, Nutrition Programs
Connecticut (Fairfield and New Haven Counties)
Heidi Harkopf, MS, RD has been with New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) for 25 years, first as a Nutrition Specialist and now as the Director of Nutrition Programs. In addition, she serves as the Connecticut media spokesperson where she has appeared on Connecticut NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox affiliates. Heidi has been a guest on Connecticut radio stations and has served as a nutrition expert for newspapers across the state.
Heidi is responsible for coordinating regional efforts to promote sound science that helps increase the visibility of New England dairy foods. In addition, she implements nutrition education programs in Connecticut schools and provides nutrition resources to health professionals based on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Prior to working for NEDFC, Heidi was a Nutrition Specialist with the University of Vermont Extension System.
Heidi is a member of both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (CAND) For CAND, she serves as Chair of the National Nutrition Month committee and is past-Chair of the Council on Professional Issues. Heidi holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Muhlenberg College and received her Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Vermont.
As a registered dietitian and mother of two teenage girls, Heidi provides the public with practical nutrition information that they can use to make healthful food choices every day.
Amanda Aldred, RD, SNS
Program Manager, School Nutrition
Amanda is a registered dietitian and School Nutrition Specialist for New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) based in Connecticut. Amanda provides technical assistance to schools outside of Fairfield and New Haven counties implementing Fuel Up to Play 60 and leads school nutrition programs for NEDFC. Amanda is a member of the School Nutrition Association and is currently serving as Chair of the Child Nutrition Committee for the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut.
Amanda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from the University of Connecticut. She is currently a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Action for Healthy Kids.
Amanda was a School Nutrition Director in Naugatuck, CT for seven-and-a-half years. She also spent two years as an adjunct lecturer at Norwalk Community College teaching Culinary Nutrition, and previous to becoming a dietitian was a Licensed Practical Nurse in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Jane Vergnani, RDN, LDN
Program Coordinator, Youth Leadership
Jane brings a unique perspective to New England Dairy & Food Council with her experiences in broadcasting with NBC, a degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University, and her work in clinical dietetics.
As a Nutrition Specialist, Jane’s diverse background provides her with a creative advantage to help implement nutrition programs in collaboration with school staff that school children will relate to, which will enhance the school nutrition environment.
She is also responsible for providing the latest dairy science and nutrition resources to local health professional organizations. Prior to her current role, Jane was a clinical dietitian with Sodexo at St. Camillus Health and Rehabilitation Center in Syracuse, NY. With Sodexo, she managed the nutritional care of residents and was actively involved in improving their overall nutrition status and meal satisfaction. Jane’s prior culinary training enabled her to provide creative healthy cooking demonstrations for residents.
Jane was the president of the Rhode Island Dietetic Association in 2011-2012. She is also actively involved in Rhode Island Action for Healthy Kids, serving as the State Team Liaison.
Jane received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Gettysburg College and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University. She completed her dietetic internship at University of Connecticut.
Jill Hussels, RDN
Jill Hussels, RDN has been a Nutrition Specialist with New England Dairy & Food Council for more than nine years. In this position, Jill works with schools across Vermont to implement Fuel Up to Play 60, the Dairy Council’s in-school healthy eating and physical activity program. She also directs local dairy campaigns and provides nutrition resources to area health professional organizations. Additionally, she works with partner organizations to implement the Vermont Breakfast After the Bell Challenge.
She is also the spokesperson for the Burlington media market. As a local spokesperson on current nutrition topics, she has been a frequent guest on WCAX Channel 3’s Across the Fence program.
Jill held the position of President of Vermont Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (VAND) in 2012 and has served on the board in numerous positions including Bulletin Editor, Public Relations/Media Representative, and CPI-Chair Elect. Currently, she is a member of VAND and the School Nutrition Association of Vermont.
Becca Story MS, RD, LD
As a Nutrition Specialist with New England Dairy & Food Council, Becca is responsible for implementing nutrition education programs in New Hampshire schools and local health education organizations, providing nutrition resources for health professionals, and executing local campaigns to increase the visibility of New England Dairy foods.
Prior to her current position, Becca worked for nine years coordinating Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program for the New Hampshire Food Bank.
In this role, she led program capacity building, which included increasing volunteers, host sites was well as financial support to expand the program to each New Hampshire county. She got the most reward from this position as an instructor by empowering families to cook and enjoy healthy nutrient-rich foods while on a limited budget through customized hands-on learning. In her spare time, Becca continues to volunteer for the program.
Becca holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Connecticut, and completed her dietetic internship and Master’s degree at the University of New Hampshire. She is an active member of the New Hampshire Dietetic Association and its Board of Directors, having served as President and Treasurer and Professional Development Chair-Elect. She has been a student mentor for community nutrition experiences with local and distance dietetic and nutrition programs. She also currently works part-time as Adjunct Faculty for the University of New Hampshire Dietetic Internship program.