Director of culinary programs
Sacramento Campus of The International Culinary Schools at the Art Institutes
This interview was originally published on CFAITC's blog, "The Fencepost."
How and when did you first learn of Ag in the Classroom?
I had heard about Ag in the Classroom for some time—through industry networking—but recently got involved when contacted by Ag in the Classroom to host the filming of Bon á la Beef on our campus.
How long have you been teaching students and why did you choose to become an educator?
My background is in restaurant management, which led me into a training position with the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. From there I moved into a full-time culinary arts/management Instructor at the Art Institutes. I am now the director of six culinary arts programs.
What is your favorite AITC program/resource/event and why?
I think the work AITC does to reach and teach school-age children about the importance of agriculture to their personal health, and to the economy of our state, is extremely important.
What is the most profound impact that agriculture education/awareness has had on you?
Living in this area and being able to access fresh fruits and vegetables all year-round from farmers markets has help me develop a real appreciation for agriculture, as well as respect for the farmers who grow it.
Has agriculture continued to impact the way you educate students?
Our curriculum focuses heavily on sustainability and sustainable farming practices. We incorporate this into all of our classes.
Tell us about one person who has most influenced your own education and educational career.
I can't really pick one person, but earning my master of education had a huge impact on the way I view teaching and education.
Tell us about a golden teaching moment.
Anytime I have a student shout out, "I GET IT!"
Describe any agriculture-based projects you have been involved in lately.
Our campus and our students were very motivated with Sacramento's recent Farm-to-Fork celebration.
Do you have any advice for other teachers on implementing agriculture into the classroom?
By teaching agriculture, young people will become more educated about healthy eating habits and choices. Reach out to organizations like Ag in the Classroom and utilize all the wonderful tools they have to help you do that!
Why do you believe it is important for our students to be agriculturally literate and aware in today's society?
Again, I think being educated on how to make healthy choices for themselves and their families has a huge impact on the health of our nation.