May 13, 2023

The national, non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) has named Connie Kingsley, Inventory Specialist for Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Missouri, national Employee of the Year. The award recognizes the valuable contribution of school nutrition employees who exhibit a remarkable commitment to both their school meal program and the students they serve.

Connie Kingsley came out of retirement when the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District needed assistance in the nutrition services office. As a former school nutrition manager, Kingsley uses her knowledge of the ordering system and familiarity with school food supplies and products to help the department with challenges. Through constant product shortages and supply chain issues, Kingsley communicates with nutrition staff on substitutions, new products and code changes to relieve some stress from managers and make their ordering easier. Kingsley is very organized, efficient and dependable – she works closely with the warehouse crew to ensure product levels and inventory are correct, that items are rotated and orders are pulled accurately, and she helps organize files and supplies.

Through her careful tracking of missing items, product shortages and substitutions, Kingsley has been instrumental in ensuring the district received proper credit for thousands of dollars owed from food and commodity distributors.

Kingsley also serves as the nutrition department representative for the district Employee Wellness Program. She shares with co-workers important information about their health insurance and supports the well-being challenges offered. Kingsley is known for encouraging co-workers on the importance of taking care of themselves to better serve their students.

“Coming out of retirement when her former employer needed help says quite a bit about Connie Kingsley’s dedication to child nutrition. With expertise from her work as a manager, she has navigated continuing supply chain challenges to ensure the nutrition department runs as smoothly as possible to benefit their students and relieve stress from colleagues,” said SNA President Lori Adkins MS, SNS, CHE.

Now in the second chapter of her child nutrition career, Kingsley has again shown dedication to professional development, doing everything she can to strengthen her knowledge of the business and financial side of the department and completing necessary classes for current certificates. She attends local and state food shows to learn about products and how they fit into the guidelines. Kingsley attended several USDA and commodity education sessions, and her training there prompted her to update some district processes to be more efficient and effective.

The Employee of the Year award was created to recognize outstanding school nutrition employees who influence the quality of school meals through customer service, an interest in young people, cooperation, work attendance, creativity, participation in professional development and their willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Kingsley was announced as the national Employee of the Year during an online awards ceremony on May 2 in advance of School Lunch Hero Day, celebrated on May 5, 2023, to honor all of America’s dedicated school nutrition professionals. As a national award winner, Kingsley will receive an all-expense paid trip to be recognized at SNA’s Annual National Conference in Denver in July. The accomplishments of Kingsley and all SNA award winners will also be highlighted in a special publication and promoted in SNA’s annual Hero Day social media campaign on and

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 50,000 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 on school meals, visit