by Mary Wilson
Grandview High School Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Cheryl Landers is ending the 2013-14 school year on a high note or two. The 24-year teaching veteran, mother of four and grandmother of four, has not only been named Grandview School District’s teacher of the year, but has also been named Missouri ProStart’s educator of the year.Landers also serves on the Missouri Educators of Family and Consumer Sciences Board, holding many titles over the years from treasurer to committee chair. She learned in January that she was nominated for the Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year, and will be notified over the summer whether or not she will receive that title as well.
“It’s all happened at once,” said Landers. “It’s been amazing. I was shocked by all of them, I really was.”Landers was driving when she received the call that she was named the Missouri ProStart Educator of the Year. “I was late to my meeting because of that call,” said Landers.
The ProStart award is given to one instructor in Missouri each year by the Missouri Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to recognize exceptional educators who utilize the ProStart program in their classrooms. The award is sponsored by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).Landers has been a ProStart instructor for eight years and has worked with regional Missouri Restaurant Association members to access resources to assist the team in preparing for very difficult state and national competitions. The many hours spent by the team members learning new skills, developing creative concepts, and making professional contacts in the industry has indeed paid off as these students prepare for future careers.
ProStart is a national career-building program for high school students who are interested in culinary arts and foodservice management. The Missouri ProStart program hopes to inspire a new generation of talent, to help build the Missouri restaurant industry through real world education combined with classroom curriculum relevant to today’s evolving foodservice industry. Many students have a newfound interest in high school and are applying themselves academically in other classes in order to be a part of the two-year restaurant management and culinary arts program, according to Missouri ProStart.
“It gives the kids the skills and the knowledge for a good start,” said Landers. “I’ve had a few students hired at a higher position in the restaurant industry than those without the ProStart training. Their managers are recognizing the skills they’ve learned.”Landers was selected as the Grandview High School teacher of the year, and from there was automatically a finalist for the district title. She was ultimately chosen as teacher of the year for the district, and was honored on Tuesday, April 29, with family, friends and colleagues at the district’s employee recognition banquet.
“I was totally shocked,” said Landers. “I was quite honored that my school selected me. I was wondering what I’d done differently. I just do the same thing I’ve done every year. I just do my job.”Six or seven years into her teaching career, Landers recalls questioning whether she would stay in Grandview or look elsewhere. Deciding Grandview was her career home, Landers has stayed put.
“I love Grandview,” said Landers. “The district has supported my department and really valued what we do.”Landers said she plans to work well after her retirement age, hoping for another ten years of teaching Grandview’s youth.