Clear Springs High School District Culinary Arts Instructor and Program Coordinator Kathleen Roussel is the latest recipient of the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s (TRAEF) Educator Excellence Award. Roussel has nearly two decades of experience in the hospitality industry and took over the culinary arts program at Clear Springs High School four years ago.
The Educator Excellence Award is presented by TRAEF to an educator who has made significant contributions to culinary education through both an unwavering dedication to their students and a strong presence in their community.
“Kathleen’s experience, accomplishments and thriving program are a testament to what a difference a powerful educator can make in the lives of students,” said Roger Kaplan, TRA Education Foundation chairman and founder of RK iNNOVATION in Dallas. “She is empowering her students with lifelong lessons in teamwork, ethics and leadership that will serve them no matter what career path they choose.”
Roussel holds a degree in culinary arts and hospitality and was working out in the field in an executive management role at a Fortune 200 company, overseeing up to 20 restaurants and 450 employees. She decided to switch career paths four years ago, to pursue her passion for helping others and developing future culinarians for the industry.
Since her arrival at Clear Springs High School, she has implemented the Texas ProStart curriculum, trained students in culinary arts, pastry arts and restaurant operations, and converted her traditional classroom into a fully functioning restaurant where students can gain valuable real-world experience. Last year, Clear Springs High School participated for the first time in the Texas ProStart competition, and placed 2nd in the state. She considers that accomplishment one of her proudest moments.
“Teaching has deeply enriched my life. This award is a tremendous honor for me and I’m humbled to be recognized by my peers and industry leaders,” Roussel says. “We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that we have without the support of our administrators and staff, and the dedication of our students. Their hard work and desire to strive for excellence is what motivates me every day. These hard-working kids are the future of our industry.”
The award will be presented at the Night of Excellence event at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, July 8. This event is in conjunction with the TRA Marketplace, July 9-10 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.
The award package includes complimentary registration to the annual Culinary Educators Training Conference, $1,000 to use toward her Texas ProStart program, travel and registration to TRA Marketplace as well as a crystal trophy.
Event sponsors include: Texas Beef Council, Exclusive; Ecolab, Diamond; Ben E. Keith, Platinum; AutoChlor System, Revention, Gold; BJ’s Restaurants, Coca-Cola, Texas Mutual, United Healthcare, Silver; El Centro College, BMI, Main Street Hub and Les Dames d’Escoffier, Bronze.