Ross Carter knew something was up when two school superintendents walked into his classroom on the morning of April 7 at Beaumont High School.

Carter, the Culinary Arts instructor, was talking with his Intro to Culinary Arts students when Beaumont Unified School District Superintendent Maureen Latham and Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Young made a surprise early morning call to his class.

“I thought I was getting fired,” joked Carter.

Latham and Young were joined by cabinet and staff from Beaumont and Riverside County Schools to announce that Carter was chosen as the 2016 RCOE Teacher of the Year.

Only RCOE teachers are eligible for the award. Carter is a Career and Technical Education teacher for RCOE.

Carter said he applied for the award, with the help and encouragement of Beaumont High School Principal Christina Pierce. He applied in March.

Carter built the program when he joined Beaumont High School five years ago. The students are 11th and 12th graders.

“We had accomplished a lot in five years,” said Carter, who lives in Riverside.

Prior to arriving at Beaumont High School, he was the culinary teacher for youth corrections in Chino for 15 years. He lost his job when the prison closed.

Carter teaches five classes at Beaumont High – four cooking classes and one catering class.

One of the things he enjoys is working with the community on projects.

“I think it’s really important to be a part of the community,” Carter said.

He has worked with Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club, pre-game football food for the Beaumont High School varsity team, and breakfast and lunch for district staff.

Carter said they’re working on a setting up a culinary arts program with Mount San Jacinto College but that it is in the exploratory stages.

Carter said he enjoys teaching in the Beaumont Unified School District and that it has been a positive place to work.

After he applied for the award, Carter said he wrote half a dozen thank you notes to people who were instrumental in bringing him to Beaumont. His inspiration: his mother-in-law, Laurie Chamberlain, who died last summer.

Chamberlain was a big proponent of writing thank you notes, Carter said.

He said that he is grateful for the administration and school board in Beaumont for being forward thinking and also praises the community for being so supportive.

“There’s no way this is an individual award,” Carter said. “It’s a team effort.”

Latham said that Carter’s passion for his work is evident.

“As a culinary arts instructor, he brings tremendous expertise in the knowledge of culinary arts and the workplace standards that are expected in this field,” Latham said.

She said that Carter not only teaches them to prepare, cook and serve their meals but also guides them.

Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at jfarren@recordgazette.net.

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