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EFE Culinary Arts’ Chef Kharen Honored as Instructor of the Year

EFE Culinary Arts Students at ProStart Competition Kharen Shelton has been named the 2019 Michigan Instructor of the Year by the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association. With this honor came a nomination for the 2019 Educator of Excellence Award.

Before Shelton began teaching culinary arts to Education for Employment (EFE) students in 2009, she spent many years working for several Fortune 500 companies such as CNN, IBM and Herman Miller.

Shelton began her career in the telecommunications management field after earning a master’s degree from Michigan State University in 1987. After some reflection and self-evaluation into her own needs and goals, Shelton decided that her entrepreneurial skills could be put to better use as a chef. “What I really wanted more than anything was to run and own my own business,” she explained.

From there, Shelton’s desire to become an entrepreneur led her to the culinary arts, which grew into a love for cooking and teaching Kalamazoo County’s eager students.

“I feel very fortunate because I’ve found my passion and calling. I am most gratified to have students from years ago that come back to share their experiences with me,” said Shelton. “That makes me feel like Teacher of the Year every day.”

During the 2018-19 school year, Chef Kharen’s EFE Culinary Arts students earned first-place in the Management discipline at the Michigan ProStart Competition in Lansing on March 18 and took home the fifth-place award at the National ProStart Competition in Washington D.C. on May 12.

"We are extremely proud of Chef Kharen and the accomplishments that she has made," beamed Cameron Buck, Education for Employment Program Administrator. "She is extremely devoted to her students and we are glad that she is being recognized for all the hard work she puts into making the culinary arts program top-notch."

Learn more about the EFE Culinary Arts course on the EFE website at