Kramer helps feed thousands of Pound students through recipes of kindness

Whenever Pound Middle School students took a bite out of a cinnamon roll or chocolate chip cookie over the past 30 years, they experienced the care that Sue Kramer put into every recipe.
Kramer crafted her final batch of homemade items this spring after spending three decades in the school’s kitchen. She began her career as a food service worker and later secured the job as head baker at Pound. She said it has been fulfilling to watch students benefit academically, socially and emotionally from eating quality food every day.
“That’s why I think I stayed as long as I did,” Kramer said. “It’s rewarding to see the kids get a good meal.”
Kramer’s dedication to Lincoln Public Schools students has been noticed far outside Pound’s walls. LPS Director of Nutrition Services Andrew Ashelford congratulated Kramer during her final week at school. He said she was a top-notch example of the important roles that kitchen workers play throughout the school district.
“Andrew told me this morning that he calculated out that in my years I’ve been here, I’ve made over 100,000 cookies, just off the top of his head,” Kramer said with a laugh. “That’s quite a few.”

“Sue was an outstanding worker!” Ashelford said. “She provided great leadership in the baking department but also in the other areas of the kitchen. She always stepped up and helped fill in as needed. She helped train new employees with food production and also using kitchen equipment.”
Kramer trained at East High School with a food service worker who had been there ever since the building opened in 1967. She brought those lessons with her to Pound and began using her talents to help students.
Kramer and her fellow Pound kitchen workers spent hours each morning preparing food during the 2023-24 school year. Approximately 100 students came through the line for breakfast each day before heading off to classes, and the team served 500 lunches in the late morning and early afternoon.
Many items Pound students had on their trays were made from scratch in the kitchen. Kramer baked hundreds of loaves of bread throughout the fall, winter and spring, and she produced a large array of cinnamon rolls, tea rolls and cookies.

Ashelford said cinnamon rolls were one example of Kramer’s culinary skills. After looking at historical menus, he calculated that Kramer baked batches of cinnamon rolls for students approximately 12 times per year. This meant she created 111,600 homemade cinnamon rolls in her career.
“Sue is going to be missed,” Ashelford said. “She was a terrific worker and mentor and truly cared about the students at Pound and throughout LPS.”
Kramer’s granddaughter Emma said many students appreciate those efforts. She was an eighth grader at Pound this year and said she was proud of what Kramer has accomplished.
“It means a lot,” Emma said. “I know she works really hard. She loves being here. She loves her co-workers. It just means a lot that she’s getting recognized.”
Kramer said spending time with both students and co-workers has been an enjoyable part of the job. She operated a card register in one of Pound’s food lines after spending the morning preparing meals. That gave her a chance to connect with students and brighten their day with a smile.
“Working with the ladies, you get to know them pretty well, and it’s fun. It really is,” Kramer said. “Seeing the kids every day is fun too. Some kids, they say thank you and they really enjoy lunch. It’s been good. It’s going to be sad not seeing them anymore.”
The job has also allowed Kramer to strengthen her own family bonds. All of her children attended Pound when they took classes at LPS, and she talked with two of her grandchildren in lunch lines this past year. Both Emma and Henry, a sixth grader, said hi to Kramer as they left with their food each day.
“It’s been really nice,” Emma said. “I always make sure to go in her line, because she always greets me.”
Emma said she feels fortunate that she has been able to go to Pound at the same time as her grandmother. 
“She’s been here a long time,” Emma said. “We always joke that she stayed just for me.”
Kramer said her three decades at Pound have been filled with many positive memories. She said it was a privilege to put care and concern into everything she created in Pound’s kitchen.
“They went pretty fast, believe it or not,” Kramer said. “It’s been surprising. I can’t believe it’s been 30 years here. My kids all came through Pound and my grandkids are here now. It’s unbelievable.”

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Published: June 12, 2024, Updated: June 12, 2024

Sue Kramer delivers a bright smile in Pound Middle School's kitchen. Kramer retired this spring after spending three decades creating meals for Pound students. She made more than 100,000 cookies and 110,000 cinnamon rolls during her career.