Sentinel instructor named Teacher of Excellence

PHOTO SUBMITTED Valerie Zeno (left) hospitality management instructor, earned the Ohio ProStart 2017 Teacher of Excellence award Sunday. She is pictured with Elissa Heal (center), director of Sentinel CTC and Greg Edinger (right), superintendent of Vangard-Sentinel.

COLUMBUS — Sentinel Career and Technology Center’s hospitality management instructor was named the Ohio ProStart 2017 Teacher of Excellence during a ceremony Sunday.

Valerie Zeno, who has been with Sentinel for three years, received the award, which recognizes teachers who embrace excellence and teaching of the ProStart program.

One teacher per year is selected for the award.

“I am very stunned and humbled to be included in this elite group of culinary teachers,” Zeno said.

The program is used to help increase the quality and employability of high school restaurant-management and culinary arts graduates by providing them with essential work related skills, as well as career exploration and the opportunity to seek post secondary education. The ProStart program, through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, includes an industry backed curriculum to teach, test and award industry-recognized credential to students, according to the ProStart website. The program is a two-year curriculum for high school juniors and seniors that provides students to learn skills such as customer service, leadership, teamwork and responsibility.

“If we could clone Mrs. Zeno, not only would you have a great teacher, but you would also have the utmost professional. A well deserving recognition,” Vanguard-Sentinel Superintendent Greg Edinger said.

Zeno said this award means she has been able to show her passion for her respective field and share that passion in the classroom to the next generation of students entering into the food service and hospitality careers.

“This award also recognizes the achievements the program has made and the achievements of the students,” she said. “This program has a high level of student involvement in service learning every day. It is not about only coming to school a few hours a day, but shows students going above and beyond.”

The hospitality and management program at Sentinel also was recognized as one of the Elite 50 Hospitality Programs in the country recently by Sullivan University.