School Nutrition Professionals Recognized for Extraordinary Achievements



Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner  


School Nutrition Professionals Recognized for Extraordinary Achievements  


SAN ANTONIO, TX – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognized four of its own today at the 70th Annual National Conference in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to state and regional award winners, four SNA members received national recognition for their superior accomplishments in the school nutrition arena:

Patricia Embry, from Hurricane Deck Elementary in Camdenton R-III School District, Mo., received the Employee of the Year Award. In 22 years at the school, Embry has held roles ranging from cashier to assistant cook. Despite her hearing impairment, Embry knows every student by name. She is eager to help students and often roams the cafeteria to check on them, offering a smile and words of encouragement. Embry is responsible for the fruit and salad bar and is known for her creative food art displays. During “Tasty Tuesdays”, Embry distributes samples of food items for students to taste and provides a voting board for students to share their opinion on the item. Embry keeps the cafeteria fresh and fun for students and staff, often volunteering her time to decorate for each holiday and season. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, as students and staff recognized her with a “Just Terrific” award. Embry’s passion for food service has contributed to increases in breakfast and lunch participation.

Bonnie Schmidt, of Morris Area High School in Morris Area Schools, Minn., was recognized with the Manager of the Year Award. Schmidt is known for bringing school spirit to the cafeteria - repainting the walls in school colors, encouraging staff to dress up for school events, and even organizing a flash mob dance with students during Homecoming week. Schmidt opened the cafeteria to all district staff members, who are impressed by the quality and selection of food. Each year, she invites elementary students to the high school cafeteria to collaboratively cook a meal. In addition, Schmidt is passionate about the summer food drop program for low-income families. Using the food items provided, she develops recipes for families to help them make the most of the food they receive. Schmidt serves as a mentor to new staff members and welcomes their ideas. She prioritizes the wellness of her staff, bringing in a yoga expert to teach techniques for relieving stress and preventing pain from standing in lunch lines. As president of her local SNA chapter, Schmidt stays on top of new developments in the school nutrition industry and values the importance of a well-trained staff.

Lucretia Chancler, MS, LDN, RD, SNS, Supervisor of Child Nutrition for St. Landry Parish School System, La., earned the Director of the Year Award for transforming the school nutrition program, benefitting both students and staff. To improve technology in the cafeteria, Chancler installed new point-of-sale touch screens, bar code scanners and temperature monitoring systems. For parents, she purchased online meal payment and free and reduced price meal application systems, as well as nutritional analysis software to accommodate students with allergies and special diets. She sought out and secured marketing, equipment and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program grants. Chancler implemented an afterschool supper program and expanded the summer feeding program – delivering meals by bus directly to communities in need. Chancler coordinates training sessions for her staff, ensuring they can safely and efficiently operate kitchen equipment. To increase efficiency, she creates work schedules and provides an employee handbook. With the help of her staff, she has created a five-year improvement plan to ensure continued success in her district. Chancler seeks development opportunities and is an active member of the local SNA chapter.

The Industry Member of the Year Award went to Scott Swogger, President & CEO of AccuTemp Products. An active SNA member for 12 years, Swogger has served on the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) Board of Directors since 2010 and successfully led the Foundation as Board Chair for three consecutive years during a critical period of strategic planning, restructuring and realignment with SNA. Swogger has been crucial to SNF’s fundraising efforts to support education, professional development, scholarships and research in school nutrition. As Chair of the planning committee for SNF’s 50th Anniversary in 2014, Swogger was instrumental in the launching of SNF’s “Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes.” The event was so successful that it has become the Foundation’s annual signature fundraising event. His continued involvement in the Celebration helped SNF exceed its 2016 fundraising and attendance goals for the event. Swogger and AccuTemp have also been key supporters of SNF’s Giving Tuesday campaign.

About the School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 56,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. For more information about ANC, visit


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