Lisa Thrower SNAAZ President 2018

2018 President’s Message


Attention SNAAZ Members! I would like to introduce myself as the 2018 School Nutrition Association of Arizona President, Lisa Thrower. I am currently the Child Nutrition Director at Yuma School District One. This is my 18th year in the school nutrition industry. I have 3 children with my husband, Judd Thrower. Brooke age 10, Gwen age 8 and Luke age 6.

My other “work family” consists of the 85 school nutrition professionals I work with every day. We are a very close department and I value the support I have received from them during my time on the SNAAZ Executive Board.I am the Child Nutrition Director in the same school district that I attended from Kindergarten to 8th Grade.  I even work along the same school nutrition professionals that made sure I was served healthy meals growing up as a child.

As your SNAAZ President I would like to cordially invite you to Save the Date for the 2018 State Conference September 14th & 15th, 2018. The conference theme this year is “SNAAZ: Under the Big Top,”. This will be our first year at our new location, the Renaissance Downtown Phoenix Hotel. We will also be at a new area of the Phoenix Convention Center for the Food Show Our State Conference Planning Committee is already in full swing planning for this spectacular event!

Please feel free to reach out to me with any SNAAZ related questions or concerns you may have. We are currently working on a new Website that we will share with our members as soon as we can. I hope to see some of you at the School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC) in Sedona in June and also at the Annual National Conference in Las Vegas in July. This is an exciting year to be a SNAAZ member, hope you enjoy the ride!

Sending my best,


Goal 1 – Professional Development

School Nutrition professionals have the necessary knowledge, skills and expertise to administer, manage and deliver healthy school meal programs.

SNAAZ Objective #1:

Increase the availability of training/educational opportunities related to business operations of School Nutrition programs

  • Develop and promote multi-tiered training tracks to provide business/finance targeted education to all members as it relates to their specific job duties.
  • Provide trainings for CN staff and district business office staff on CN finance and operations, increasing the knowledge and understanding of how to support a effective and efficient CN operation. Trainings will be held at SNAAZ Conferences, AASBO Conferences/Bi-Monthly meetings and various other opportunities.

SNAAZ Objective #2:

Increase the availability of resources and opportunities to enable members to meet the new federal Professional Standards

  • Develop all conference education agendas keeping the USDA professional standards key areas in mind.
  • Promote USDA professional standards website and SNA professional standards web resources to our membership (links on website).

SNAAZ Objective #3:

Increase the value of SNA membership for school nutrition directors and their staff through education and professional development

  • Promote SNA certification and credentialing with a target goal of a 5% increase in each category.
  • Promote SNS credentialing program, SNS study guide and handbook and schedule SNS exam at SNAAZ Annual State Conference and promote study groups.
  • Use and promote SNA and SNAAZ as a platform to assist districts in meeting the USDA Professional Standards requirements. Send mailings and email blasts to the membership with reminders and announcements of upcoming trainings and education opportunities.
  • Work with local chapters to navigate the Professional Standards and incorporate education in chapter meetings.

Goal 2 – Advocacy and Public Image

Policy makers, school officials, and parents will rely on SNA as the authority for designing and funding school meal programs.

SNAAZ Objective #1:

Increase the number of SNAAZ members trained in advocacy

SNAAZ Objective #2:

Increase efforts to improve the understanding and knowledge of policy makers and other stakeholders of the scope and complexity of school nutrition programs

  • Appoint a PP&L Co-Chair to the Executive Board with the targeted goal of collaborating with the PP&L Chair to develop a strategic plan that includes a short term goal of increasing knowledge and awareness of legislative issues and a longer term goal of establishing a State-wide legislative event.
  • Continue to cultivate strategic partnerships with allied organizations such as the AZ Nutrition Coalition and local food banks.
  • Explore a localized collaboration with allied organization to develop a State event that raises awareness of CN programs and legislative topics.
  • Task the PP&L Chairs to provide ongoing training on current legislative issues at conferences, Executive Board meetings and through digital communication (Website, Facebook page, monthly Cactus Trails and email blasts).
  • Promote the importance of attending SNA’s Legislative Action Conference and have our Arizona voices heard by our representatives and senators

Goal 3 – Community

School nutrition programs nationwide will be strengthened through collaboration with members, state affiliates, industry and allied partners

SNAAZ Objective #1:

Increase the number of School District Owned Memberships (SDM)

  • Empower and support the Membership Chair to secure one additional SDM district each year, for the next 3 consecutive years.
  • Consider establishing incentives for new SDM districts, such as one free paid registration with every 10 new SDM members.

SNAAZ Objective #2:

Strengthen SNAAZ through collaboration with members, state affiliates, industry and allied partners.


  • Strengthen a partnership between SNAAZ and local Directors to encourage participation and collaboration.
  • Identify our strategic needs from industry and allied partners on an annual basis, through collaborative conversation and extending an invitation to meet.
  • Increase membership by a minimum of 3%, equaling approximately 30 new members by December 30th, 2018.
  • Develop a new SNAAZ website designed to have easy access to resources and information for all visitors.

Goal 4– Infrastructure

SNAAZ Objective #1:

Actively recruit and develop future SNAAZ leaders

  • SNAAZ will appoint 2 “Talent Scouts” who are tasked with seeking out new leaders and making the ask if they are ready and willing to take the next step into a leadership role as a committee member, Executive Board member or run for an elected office.
  • Committees will be added to the infrastructure with the hope it will increase interest, from all levels of membership, to move up in more advanced leadership rolls.
  • Create and distribute a volunteer interest forms to members.
  • Begin to discuss planning and developing a State Future Leaders Program.

SNAAZ Objective #2:

Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of decision making and work systems.


  • Work with current Executive Board to review current job descriptions throughout the year with the intent of determining position relevancy, efficiency and effectiveness. Work will be ongoing and interactive throughout the term, culminating in an enhanced and comprehensive final job description for all SNAAZ Executive Board positions.


"SNAAZ membership allows access to attend conferences, meet school nutrition associates, share ideas, and learn new industry concepts."

Mary Venable

Paradise Valley Schools

"I have been involved in the School Nutrition Association and SNAAZ for over 20 years. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without the help and support of SNAAZ. SNA provided me with scholarship opportunities that helped me to finish my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. "

Michael Clark

Crane School District

"I appreciate the members of SNAAZ. They are always helpful and we can always count on their feedback and direction. We love getting new members involved and recommend everyone should be a part of SNAAZ and join their local chapter to get hands on experience and network with other professionals."

Corenda Lewis

Westside Chapter President

"My membership has afforded me the ability to stay up with the proposed regulations happening in congress that affect the school nutrition industry. And with the help of other state members, I have had the chance to help reorganize a chapter that has been disabled for 20+ years."

Stephen Protz

Tucson Unified School District

"SNAAZ gives me the opportunity to connect with many different Child Nutrition professionals throughout the state, helping me to grow professionally. "

Ronald Beck

Litchfield Schools

“ SNAAZ provides countless opportunities to grow professionally and network with amazing leaders in school nutrition. With every conference and meeting, I can always count on learning something new and valuable to take back to our schools. I highly recommend becoming a member of SNAAZ to anyone working in child nutrition!”

Brienne Berg

Creighton Schools

"My membership with SNAAZ has been extremely beneficial in networking and collaborating with peers to determine best practices for our nutrition programs. They offer plenty of opportunities to learn more, grow professionally, as well become a leader in the industry."

Jasmine Swier

Laveen School District

"I have been a SNAAZ member for 5 years now.  The conferences are great opportunities for new menu ideas and ways to increase student meal participation.  I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and networking with school nutrition professionals from other districts and across the whole state of Arizona. One significant opportunity that SNAAZ provided me, was by offering the SNS test at the State Conference."

Natalie Tenney

Gilbert Schools

“When I first got into the school nutrition, it was recommended to join SNAAZ. I am so glad I did. I have met some of my best friends through SNAAZ. When I became a director I was so fortunate to have a group of fantastic directors mentor me and help me get through my first year as a new director.”

Shannon Gleave

Glendale Schools

“I have been a member for 18 years and have been able to go to several State and National Conferences. I have been touched by many speakers. I have to say I have enjoyed every class I have taken and am so thankful that I have had this opportunity to learn more about my profession.”

April Smith

Yuma School District

“I’ve been with my district for over 31 years and have been a SNAAZ member most of that time. Over the years I have learned so much from Professional Growth, SNIC and the Annual State Conferences. The sessions offered at the conferences are always informative to help everyone keep up with the “latest and greatest” info and news when it comes to Child Nutrition.  And networking with our peers is always the best.  Thank you SNAAZ for all you do!”

Sandy Rogers

Paradise Valley School District

“Working with the School Nutrition Association of Arizona in partnership with my role at the Dairy Council of Arizona, is vital to meeting my goals and objectives. Through the years, SNAAZ has been a vocal champion of our focus on expanding school breakfast and summer food, providing equipment grants and supporting wellness policy activation with our flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60.  I firmly believe we have had so much success with our outreach and impact to Arizona schools due to the direct partnership and support of SNAAZ with Dairy Council of Arizona.”

Pat Johnson

Arizona Dairy Council