The ProStart Teacher of Excellence Award recognizes exceptional teachers who use the ProStart restaurant and foodservice industry career development program in their classrooms. The educator honored with this award has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the ProStart program and has extended the program's curriculum by motivating the students to participate in internships and by using guest speakers, field trips and additional opportunities within the industry to make the program more meaningful for the students.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the 2020 Invitational was adjusted to a virtual format. The 2020 Teacher of Excellence, Debra Bates from Lancaster High School, was awarded in a virtual awards ceremony. 

Chef Debra Bates of Lancaster High School has spent an amazing 40 years creating menus, planning events, and cooking food for a variety of groups, both large and small. She is dedicated, passionate, enthusiastic and always willing to learn. She is steadfast in helping her students succeed as she prepares them for their future. She is an educator, mentor, counselor, cheerleader, and friend and is so worthy of this honor. In 2014, Chef Bates first received this honored and now is a two-time recipient as the 2020 Ohio ProStart Teacher of Excellence!

Please join us in congratulating Debbie and thanking her for her dedication!    

Please join us in congratulating Debbie and thanking her for her dedication!

Award Recipients:

> 2020: Debra Bates - Lancaster High School

> 2019: Seth Weibel - Pioneer Career Center

> 2018: Chris Olszewski - Polaris Career Center

> 2017: Valerie Zeno - Sentinel Career & Technology Center

> 2016: Dennis Finley - R.G. Drage Career & Technical Center

> 2015: Barbara Hummer - Cuyahoga Valley Career Center

> 2014: Debra Bates - Lancaster High School

> 2013: David Eichorn - Eastland Career Center

> 2012: Carrie Hamilton - Apollo Career Center

> 2011: Kathy Zay - Tolles Career Center

> 2010: Tim Michitsch - Lorain County JVS

> 2009: Chris Olszewski - Polaris Career Center

> 2008: Pamela Mock - Madison Comprehensive HS

> 2007: Marty Nagele - Westshore Career Technical Education

> 2006: Carey Whitacre - Springfield-Clark Career Center

> 2005: Michael Edwards - EHOVE

> 2004: Maurina Driscoll - Lorain County JVS

> 2003: Sheila Hamm - Tri-Rivers Career Center

> 2002: Pegeen Cleary - Southeast Career Center