West Bend High School culinary / hospitality teacher Sally Heuer has been named the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year.
–This is a story you will read first at Washington County Insider —
“I found out through voicemail,” laughed Heuer about a message received Thursday. “I normally don’t check my voicemail but saw the Restaurant Association called and it was a gal saying she was ‘pleased as punch’ to tell me I won the award.”
Heuer has been teaching in the West Bend School District 26 years; the last nine years she’s been at the West Bend High Schools.
“The award makes me feel appreciated,” Heuer said. “I have built a very, very strong program with very supportive colleagues.”
Heuer was teaching at Badger Middle School when the Nifty Nibble, a student-run café at the high school, initially got underway. “Bonnie Skadahl ran the program for years,” said Heuer. “After she left, there was some change and shortly thereafter I was asked to take the position.”
Heuer wrapped her arms around it. “I had to, because I was given about a year or two to get the program up and moving forward or it was headed for the chopping block; pun intended,” she said.
The hospitality industry, according to Heuer, is not for wimps. “Anybody in the industry knows there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into it,” she said. “I am not afraid of hard work and I give kids opportunities they don’t have elsewhere.”
Heuer’s students have gone on to great success. This past December an article ran in Around the Bend about West Bend East High School alum Cameron Anderson. He was a graduate of Heuer’s ProStart food-service program at the high school and he was featured on the Food Network. “Cameron is our poster child for success,” she said.
“I’ve had students graduate the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, UW-Madison, the Culinary Institute of America and they’re working everywhere which is kind of exciting,” she said.
After receiving the news Heuer tried to contact her family but had little luck and then Katelyn Mueller walked into her classroom.
“I’ve had Mrs. Heuer for a couple culinary courses and I was at school and when she told me I was so happy for her because she’s my favorite teacher and she’s so deserving of the award,” Mueller said. “She had such a big smile on her face and it was so sweet to see.”
Mueller, 17, described Heuer as a ‘stand-out teacher’ who has had a big influence on her career path. “She listens to students and asks for our opinion,” she said. “She’s a very hands-on teacher and she’ll relate things in class to real-life situations and she’ll open it up to class discussion.”
Alex Newman, ProStart Coordinator for the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation, sent a note to Heuer saying she was “chosen for her great support of and work with the ProStart program and for advocating for students in the program.”
Heuer will be recognized on October 25 during a Banquet for Excellence at the Intercontinental Hotel in Milwaukee.
John Best of the Law Office of John Best is a strong supporter of education and positive stories in the West Bend and Washington county area.