Leah Schmidt headshot

Leah Schmidt
Food Service Director
St. Joseph School District
St. Joseph, MO

Leah Schmidt is being honored for her outstanding leadership skills and dedication to school nutrition. When she began as director in her district, it served 5,500 meals daily. Today, the program serves 10,000 meals. She developed an in-house, self-operated nutrition program that includes an education coordinator, an employee to manage applications for free/reduced meals and a catering coordinator. These positions aided in classroom instruction and employee counseling, quicker access to meals for at-risk students and better service of nutrition needs. She addressed the need for nutritionally compliant menus while considering the clientele. She surveyed students and found selections such as wraps, chicken tetrazzini and chef salad options were keys to participation. Leah 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. Today, Missouri’s commodity program is progressive and provides tools and customer service to districts across the state. Leah empowers the people who work with her in the industry to advance their causes and careers through education and improvement of processes. She is a past winner of a national FAME Award and was the 2015 SNA National Food Service Director of the Year.