CHS’s Judy Uerling named ProStart Teacher of the Year for New Mexico

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Judy Uerling is the 2010 ProStart Teacher of the Year for New Mexico.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Clovis High School ProStart teacher Judy Uerling is the 2010 ProStart Teacher of the Year for New Mexico by the National Restaurant Associaton’s Hospitality Industry Education Foundation.

Each state can select one outstanding ProStart educator to attend the 2010 ProStart Educator Excellence Awards which will be held in Chicago. The NRA will be paying for the trip.

With that award, Uerling was able to apply for the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award. Uerling won the award which came with a $5,000 scholarship.

“I was thrilled. It’s a great honor to receive recognition in a field that a person loves and for which they have passion,” Uerling said.

Uerling began the ProStart program at CHS five years ago and has been teaching it since.

“It’s the best of both worlds. I get to teach young people a skill for which I have a passion and give them a preparation for a possible career pathway and also a life skill,” Uerling said.

Uerling said she’s planning to use the $5,000 scholarship towards a master’s degree she is working on.

Uerling said the award made her realize how much she has to learn.

“There is always something to learn. By furthering my own level of competency and professionalism, it can open doors for unlimited growth,” she said.

Uerling has been active in food service since 1987. She is a former restaurant owner, consultant, school food service manager and has taught Family and Consumer Science for nine years. She is a certified executive chef through the American Culinary Federation and is a certified secondary food service educator.

“Judy is a shining example to all other ProStart educators in New Mexico and we are proud to honor her,” said HIEF Executive Director Victoria Martinez.