Prostart High School Educators Celebrated for Excellence in Training Students in Culinary Arts, Restaurant Management

Educators Simone Byron, Georgia, and Domenic Mallardi, Maryland, Take Top Honors

Washington, District of Columbia

Chicago, Illinois, May 18, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Last night, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced thirty-seven winners of the 2018 ProStart® Educator of Excellence Awards (EEA) for outstanding achievement in high school culinary and restaurant management education. Each winner was honored during the EEA gala dinner in Chicago, Illinois in conjunction with the 2018 National Restaurant Association Show.

ProStart® is the NRAEF’s nationwide high school program that unites classroom and industry to develop the talent of tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. The program reaches nearly 140,000 students in more than 1,800 high schools across 50 states, the Territory of Guam, and Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific.
“Every year, we recognize, reward and honor educators who have demonstrated excellence in their ProStart classrooms. They give more of themselves than we can possibly measure,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the NRAEF. “Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners, and thank you for your dedication and commitment to cultivating the next generation of restaurant and foodservice leaders.”
The NRAEF and Golden Corral Corporation are also proud to announce that the 2018 recipients of the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award, selected from the 2018 EEA winners. Established over a decade ago as a tribute to Golden Corral’s founder, James Maynard, the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award honors two select ProStart educators for their tireless dedication to providing remarkable experiences to their ProStart students. Both honorees received a plaque and a gift of $5,000, presented by Judy Irwin, Vice President of Human Resources and Training for Golden Corral, and Lance Trenary, President and CEO of Golden Corral, at a special gala dinner.

This year’s winners are ­­­­­­­­­­­­Simone Byron of Meadowcreek High School (Georgia) and Domenic Mallardi of Charles Herbert Flowers High School (Maryland). Byron worked to grow her ProStart program from one teacher and 60 students to three teachers and over 320 students over the course of seven years, and Mallardi created a student-run catering operation for his students to gain skills and experience as chefs, business owners, and team and industry leaders.

“Golden Corral has been a longtime supporter of the ProStart program and we are thrilled to honor these incredible educators who help students make their dreams a reality,” said Trenary.

Each of the winning educators are nominated for the award by their state ProStart Coordinator. As part of the nomination process, the educators were asked to share a ProStart experience in one of four categories: industry connection, a moving experience, creativity and innovation, or student motivation.

See below for the complete list of winners.

2018 ProStart Educators of Excellence Awardees

  • Laura Bolding – Albertville High School, Alabama
  • Melinda Dooley – Service High School, Alaska
  • Kristy Clarke – Apollo High School, Arizona
  • James Leedy – Enterprise High School, California
  • Christina Runyan – Smoky Hill High School, Colorado
  • Nathaniel Bradshaw – Wilbur Cross High School, Connecticut
  • Peter Buoncristiano – Polytech High School, Delaware
  • Christy Rabich – Dixie Hollins High School, Florida
  • Simone Byron  – Meadowcreek High School, Georgia
  • Jetty Miedema – Woodruff Career and Technical Center, Illinois
  • Ashley McConnell – East Central High School, Indiana
  • Joan Stekl – Cedar Rapids Community School District, Iowa
  • Alison Draut – Wichita Public Northwest High School, Kansas
  • Elizabeth Crump – East Jessamine High School, Kentucky
  • Amy Dreher –  West Feliciana High School, Louisiana
  • Domenic Mallardi – Charles Herbert Flowers High School, Maryland
  • Sarah Gibson – Taunton High School Culinary Arts, Massachusetts
  • Denise Fahrenbruch and Jennifer Honsinger – Bay Arenac ISD Career Center, Michigan
  • Christy  Johnson – Clearwater High School, Missouri
  • Bev Tompers – Belgrade High School, Montana
  • Louise Dornbusch – Papillion LaVista South High School, Nebraska
  • Barbara Orrell –  North Valley High School, Nevada
  • Matthew Barone – Kearny High School, New Jersey
  • Danielle Young – Atrisco Heritage Academy HS, New Mexico
  • Suzanne Low Pratt – Putnam/Northern Westchester, New York
  • Christine Mukosiej – Henderson County Career Academy, North Carolina
  • Chris Olszewski – Polaris Career Center, Ohio
  • Sheri Carson – Roseburg High School, Oregon
  • Tim Page – Daniel Morgan Tech, South Carolina
  • Kathy Engst – Huron High School, South Dakota
  • Kathleen Roussel – Clear Creek ISD Culinary Academy, Texas
  • Travis Walker – Phoebus High School, Virginia
  • Kahale Ahina – Bonnie Lake High School, Washington
  • Bonnie Woods – Grafton High School, West Virginia
  • Deb Garbe –  Neenah High School, Wisconsin
  • Molly Matthaei –  Jackson Hole High School, Wyoming




About The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts.

The NRAEF and its programs work to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry.

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Simone Byron (Georgia), received one of two James H. Maynard Excellence Awards from Judy Irwin, Vice President of Human Resources and Training for Golden Corral, and Lance Trenary, President and CEO of Golden Corral.

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