2016 FAME Award Winners Announced


SNA Past President Leah Schmidt, SNS, Food Service director, St. Joseph’s (Mo.) School District, has been named the 2016 Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year in the annual FAME (Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence) Awards competition. The FAME Awards honors exceptional school nutrition program directors and supports.

The Golden School Foodservice Director, the most prestigious honor in the FAME competition, demonstrates outstanding achievement in leadership, spirit/dedication, innovation, career awards, management systems, humanitarianism/community involvement and bettering the lives of students. Schmidt is also a past winner of a national FAME Award, was the 2015 SNA National Food Service Director of the Year and has also received the Kansas City Healthy Kids Shining Star Award.

Schmidt is being honored with this award for her outstanding leadership skills and dedication to school nutrition. When Schmidt began her role as director at Hickman Mills (Mo.) C-1 School District, it served only 5,500 daily meals. Today, the nutrition program has serves 10,000 meals daily—an increase of 82 percent. She developed an in-house proposal to maintain a self-operated nutrition program. This included a nutrition education coordinator, a dedicated employee to manage the application process for free and reduced meals and a catering coordinator. The implementation of these positions in the nutrition program aided in classroom instruction and employee counseling, quicker access to meals for at-risk students and better service of nutrition needs for administration school board and schools across the entire district.

Schmidt has served as the president of both the Missouri SNA and national SNA organizations. During her service in Missouri, she convened a Commodity Advisory Committee and participated as a member. Schmidt is not the only one being honored this year at FAME; additional 2016 award winners include:

  • Silver Leadership Award: Ken Yant, MBA, FMP, director, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Suwanee, Ga.
  • Silver Spirit Award: Heather D’Ambrosi, MS, RD, team leader-nutrition specialist, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa, Fla.
  • Silver Special Achievement Award: Michelle Curry, director of food and nutrition, South Pasadena USD, South Pasadena, Calif.
  • Silver Rising Star Award: Tamara Earl, SNS, child nutrition supervisor, Mason City Schools, Mason, Ohio.
  • Silver Friend of Child Nutrition: Linda Vento, sales representative, Concept Food Sales, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Gertrude Applebaum Lifetime Achievement Award: Dorothy Pannell-Martin, BS, MA, is president, SFS21, LLC, Aiken, S.C.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony on January 17, 2016 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina in San Diego, Calif., the site of the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) 2016 School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC). FAME event tickets can be obtained by visiting www.fameawards.net. For event updates throughout the year, visit www.fameawards.net or www.facebook.com/fameawards.

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