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2021 Homer B. Smith Teacher of Excellence Award

Chef Tony Stanislo has been with the Career Center since February 2000. Over the years the Program has evolved from providing students with solid front of the house, back of the house skills to a program that inspires and brings alive the passion for not only the skills but the art of cooking. To maintain his knowledge of the restaurant industry at a current level, Chef Tony belongs to FCCLA, Medina Restaurant  Group, and American Culinary Federation to network with local and regional restaurateurs, he has also spent some of his off-time workings for food service entities.  

The Chef and Restaurant students run a full-service restaurant, Wednesday through Friday from October into  May; the same students while running the restaurant also prepare and serve numerous banquets through the school year. Chef Tony’s classroom is welcoming and inclusive; the Medina County Career Center offers a specialized program for students requiring additional assistance and the Chef and Restaurant program welcomes two of those students each year providing them with opportunities for success alongside their typical peers through innovative instructional techniques and classroom management.  During his tenure and the Medina County Career Center, Chef Tony has modeled the importance of community service through participation in community events including, Taste of Medina, The Chocolate  Festival, Feeding Medina County, and various other events around the region. The Chef and Restaurant students host the annual From the Heart Dinner. The From the Heart Dinner was established in memory of  Jason Leight. Through the years the dinner has raised over 75,000 dollars for scholarships for Medina  County Career Center students. This event is so beloved by students and the community that graduates return annually to assist with the evening and reservations sell out well in advance.  During the pandemic, Chef Tony utilized technology to keep students engaged, and prepared boxes for students to pick up for live “cook-a-longs”. Families got involved as the taste testers. Students sent in photos and critiques of their work for grading. Guest Chef’s were invited into Google Meet to provide demonstrations for both junior and senior students. Chef Tony continued his community service by having curbside pick-up orders which sold out each week.  

As a leader in the FCCLA career-technical student organization at both the regional and state level, Chef Tony has a commitment to providing exceptional opportunities for growth to his students. This was evident in 2019, when Chef Tony’s students earned the opportunity to travel to Anaheim, CA, and placed second in the nation among their peers. Student participation in statewide competitions were not backburnered by this exceptional educator during COVID closures. Knowing the importance of these competitions, he took an active role with the state planners to ensure the students would have this experience.  Chef Tony Stanislo continues to meet the needs of his students, this district, the Medina Community, and promote culinary skills across the state.