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Teacher Honored by MI Restaurant Group

Kharen Warfield Shelton Honored by MI Restaurant and Lodging Assoc.

Kalamazoo Public Schools teacher Kharen Warfield Shelton has been named the 2019 Michigan Instructor of the Year by the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, the state chapter of the National Restaurant Association.

Shelton came to teaching after a long career in corporate America, including stints with IBM, CNN, and Herman Miller. After leaving the business world, Shelton opened Young Chefs Academy, a cooking school for children in Kalamazoo. She then began working with the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency’s Education for Employment Culinary Arts program as a contract worker then as a teacher with KPS.

The EFE program teaches students cooking, restaurant management, and food safety skills.

“I’m just very honored and very humbled to be receiving this award,” Shelton said. “It’s a huge acknowledgement from my peers in the industry as well as from the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association. Our program is really based exposing students to the industry and giving them as much hands-on experience as possible.”

Shelton said she owes a debt of gratitude to Hayley Ennest, the technical assistant for the program, who has been invaluable to the success of the class.

State winners become finalists for the ProStart National Educator of Excellence Award. That award will be announced in Washington, D.C., in May. ProStart is the National Restaurant Association’s high school training program.

Shelton said she is especially proud that three of her Culinary Arts students took first place in the Management ProStart competition held in Lansing in March.

The students had to develop a new restaurant plan and deliver it to a panel of judges  in a simulated business expo. Students had to prepare a business plan, create sales boards, and deliver oral presentations, and answer questions from the judges.

The students Idris Cox, of Kalamazoo Central High School; Cris Smith, of Portage Northern High School; and Skiy Ewing of Vicksburg High School, will travel to D.C. in May to compete against other student management teams for college scholarships.


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