March 14, 2018
CONTACT: Alycia Harshfield
(SACRAMENTO) – James Leedy, an accomplished ProStart culinary arts teacher at Enterprise High School in Redding, has been chosen as the 2018 Educator of Excellence by the California Restaurant Association Foundation.
This prestigious award is given once a year to just one California educator who is chosen from a long list of culinary arts instructors teaching in high schools all over the state. Leedy, a US Army veteran who served for 23 years, became a ProStart educator after a second career working in the culinary industry.
Among Leedy’s numerous qualities as an educator is his willingness to go far beyond the duties of daily teaching to ensure the success of his students. He attends trainings and activities so he can offer the most up-to-date knowledge of culinary arts and trends in his classroom. And, he doesn’t hesitate to provide unique opportunities, including driving his students 1,140 miles to compete in the CA ProStart Cup, a high-stakes, annual culinary arts and restaurant management competition for high school students from all over the state.
“Not only is James a driven educator, he is a man dedicated to improving his local community,” said Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of the California Restaurant Association Foundation. “When the Tubbs Fire broke out, James worked with local agencies, gathering food and supplies for victims. He even provided food services to soldiers and families while they served in recovery efforts in high-risk areas.”
Leedy will receive his award during the 2018 CA ProStart Cup, being held this Sunday and Monday, March 18-19 at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel in Pomona. His students from Enterprise High School could go home with awards of their own: they’ll be competing for the Cup and for much-needed college scholarships. Along with the Educator of Excellence award, Leedy will also receive $2,000 from BJ’s Restaurants Foundation and trip to Chicago to be honored at the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation Educator of Excellence Dinner in Chicago on Thursday, May 17.