For so many high school students once they finish their senior year and begin their life adult lives, they don’t look back on their high school days. But for Chef Goins, or Chef G as her students like to call her, coming back to Leesville as a teacher after she finished college was an easy choice.
“I’ve always wanted to teach, and I saw that Leesville was hiring to teach ProStart while I was attending a CTE convention so I thought let’s give it a shot,” said Chef G, who graduated from Leesville in 2005.
As a high school student, Chef G wanted to go into the world of theatre, specifically technical theatre. Although Foods classes were offered at the time, Chef G instead took many theatre classes and continued to pursue her interest of technical theater into college. For her first two years of college, she attended University of North Carolina Greensboro for technical theatre and planned on majoring in stage management.
After her sophomore year at UNCG, Chef G decided she wanted to take a break year from college because working in stage management was too much of a busy schedule. She choose to leave UNCG and move back home to consider how she would finish her college career.
Chef G eventually choose to attend Johnson and Wales University-Charlotte where she choose to major in Baking and Pastry Arts. Unfortunately her desired major was full, so Chef G choose to major in Culinary Arts instead.
At the end of her four years at Johnson and Wales, Chef G received her associate’s degree in Culinary Arts, bachelor’s degree in Food Service Management, and a minor in Wine Studies. “I originally wanted to do Baking and Pastry, but the program was full, so I did Culinary instead which is kind of nice because you can do Baking and Pastry classes in Culinary, so I got like a little bit of a sampler,” said Chef G.
After college, Chef G immediately joined the workforce by working full time at a food distribution company where she took on any job she was handed. “I did a little bit of everything. I ran the saute station, I was the head baker, I was cold prep, I was hot prep, I was kind of the fill in person there,” said Chef G.
Chef G eventually got married and moved to Greensboro where she worked at a similar food distribution company called Unitedhealthcare. She worked as the lead baker and eventually became the sous chef. She did caterings on the side and did some work in the restaurant industry.
In 2011, Chef G attended a CTE conference in Greensboro. At the time, Chef G has no idea what ProStart was or even Foods, but seeing the open job at Leesville, she decided to apply anyway. Chef G began teaching Foods 1 and ProStart at Leesville in 2013 and attended ECU in 2014 to obtain her teaching degree.
In her Foods 1 class, Chef G teaches students basic recipes and techniques such as knife skills, baking muffins, and how to poach eggs. Students who take the more advanced classes of ProStart, which is a culinary arts program for students, will learn how to make pasta, homemade pizza dough, homemade sauces, and stocks.
Students appreciate Chef G’s carefree attitude and love how stress-free her classes are. ”Chef G is one of the nicest teachers here at Leesville — she is a relatable person who understands some of the hardships faced at Leesville. She always knows about how tiring high school can be and provides a friendly environment to be in,” said Noah Treichler, a sophomore who is currently taking Chef G’s Foods 1 class, via text.
For Chef G, teaching at Leesville is so much more than just a job. “I really enjoy the community, seeing kids get excited about Spirit Week and actually going to the games and supporting the teams. I live in Elon, and it’s pretty far and people say, ‘Why don’t you just transfer schools?’ but I like it here, it’s like a home. I know the routines. I know the people. It’s so nice,” said Chef G.
Although Chef G certainly loves to cook, she says the best part about her job is getting to work with students everyday and helping them develop and improve their own cooking skills and techniques. She wants to make Foods and ProStart an enjoyable class for all students, since she knows what it’s like being a high school student.
Whether it’s helping students on recipes or teaching students how to properly cut an onion, Chef G is a considerate and helpful teacher to all her students.