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Congratulations to Our 2019 Award Winners!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ana Mattson

Join us in congratulating this year's SNA Award Winners! 


Employee of the Year

Leah Perry- School Nutrition General Worker
Chelmsford High School, Chelmsford MA
Massachusetts School Nutrition Employee of the Year
Northeast Regional Winner

Leah is known for her adaptability, warm and welcoming personality and her dedication towards her students and career. Leah has been a staple at the Chelmsford school district for countless years and has developed a strong and endearing relationship with her colleagues and students alike. She’s even been a bit of a celebrity with the graduating seniors and  is often asked to pose for photos with them before they graduate!

Leah has been an incredible support and dedicated employee to the school nutrition department. She’s always willing to lend a helping hand wherever it may be, whether that means filling in at a different kitchen, stepping up to acting manager, or being the lead on piloting a breakfast program. Leah is an incredibly selfless person who always puts the needs of the department above her own at any cost.

Leah is always looking for opportunities to improve her skills and expand her knowledge thus her enrolling in the SNA Certification Program after learning about it at a state conference. She always attends both state and local conferences and trainings in which she then brings those newly acquired skills back to the kitchen to share with her fellow colleagues. 

Leah’s passion, ambition and dedication to the school nutrition profession is evident in all she does. Chelmsford is certainly very lucky to have such a wonderful employee on their team!


Manager of the Year

Sandra Hillson- Cafeteria Manager 
Smith Elementary School, Lincoln, MA
Massachusetts School Nutrition Manager of the Year
Northeast Regional Winner


Sandra is the epitome of a “go-getter”. She is always looking for ways to introduce new and exciting foods to her students, finding creative ways to prepare meals with limited resources and ensuring her staff is highly trained to provide a safe environment for all students. She is the kind of manager who takes an idea and runs with it, creating an enjoyable cafeteria experience for everyone. 

 Sandra is continuously seeking out new opportunities to further her education and skills by attending a variety of SNA events & webinars as well as outside trainings. She is a proven leader which is evident in how well her kitchen runs, the extensive training her employees receive, and the various programs she’s implemented over her 12 years at the Lincoln school district. She has been the lead on the Farm to School Program initiative and has been able to utilize produce from the school garden as well as support local orchards by using these items within the menus. Sandra also took the initiative to bring the Healthier US School Challenge to her district after learning about it at a local conference, which is still in use today.
Along with Sandra’s noted accomplishments and dedication to her profession, she has taken it on herself to create specialized menus for those students requiring dietary accommodations whether it be food allergies, cultural differences or tactical issues. She ensures all students, regardless of their needs receive a healthy, nutritious and appetizing meal every day. Sandra is truly a one-of- a kind school nutrition manager and one we are so lucky to have.


Director of the Year

Lori Pahl- Director of Food Services
East Longmeadow Public Schools
Massachusetts School Nutrition Director of the Year


A long standing SNA member, Lori has proven herself time and time again to be a selfless, dedicated, innovative and successful school nutrition director and SNA of MA colleague. She has modernized her district by undertaking the implementation of an electronic POS system, continuously evolving her program to the students and parents wants and needs, and is always providing professional training opportunities for her staff to ensure they are successful in their jobs. The passion and joy Lori possesses for her profession is inspiring and contagious.

Lori is always in touch with her customers and strives to provide them with the cafeteria experience they crave. She’s received grants from the New England Dairy Council and EoS Foundation to implement a smoothie bar at the High School and jumpstart a Breakfast In The Classroom Program, as well as spearheaded a cafeteria renovation and makeover for the High School to create a more inviting and functional space for the students. 

Combining health and wellness initiatives with the school nutrition program has become a passion and talent for Lori. During Fit February in her elementary schools, she partners with the Phys-Ed teacher and school nurse to hold Taste Test Tuesdays. One item that received high praised, the locally made burger, has even been implemented into the monthly menu cycle. Lori also works collaboratively with the PTO and school nurses to hold Health and Wellness events for students and parents throughout the year in which she’s able to showcase the great things she does within her department. 

Lori has been an active member of the SNA of MA for the past 13 years holding positions such as chapter delegate elect and delegate, member of the Public Relations Committee (now known as Member Relations) and has attended countless SNA sponsored national and local conferences as well as LAC on a regular basis. She is a lifelong learner and takes great pride and care in all she does, making for one incredible woman and school nutrition director!


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2020 SNA of Mass. Reception at the Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit - Exhibitors

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