Meet the Teacher: Jayson Zoll, Niles High School

Educators are perhaps the greatest population of unsung heroes in Berrien and Cass County. This school year, Leader Publications will publish a weekly spotlight featuring teachers throughout the district, giving the community a chance to get to know the hard-working individuals shaping their children’s lives. Throughout the next school year, their answers will be published in the newspaper that serves each school district.

Name: Jayson Zoll

School: Niles High School

Grade(s)/subject(s) taught: Culinary Arts 10-12th grade

Where did you attend college? The Culinary Institute of Michigan (Baker College)

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been with your current school? Six years.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? Sharing a love for food. I believe there is a disconnect in the origination of our food, how it is prepared, and being presented on our plate.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? I enjoy spending time with my wife Brandi and our twin daughters Harper and Kinsley. I also enjoy cooking, gardening, fishing and hunting.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? Although I am a chef, I continue studying food to sharpen my craft. I believe you can never stop learning about food and continue expanding and honing your skills because the food industry changes constantly.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Ratatouille.

When you were a student in the grade you teach, what were your favorite hobbies? I enjoyed gardening and fishing.

How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality?

• Generally upbeat

• Engaged in conversation.

• Inquisitive.

• Quality listener.  I have a strong passion for teaching kids true culinary skills and believe cooking should be a hands-on learning experience.

Who is your biggest role model and why? My biggest role model is Chef John Lakatos. He has taught me how to be a good family man, an exceptional chef, and how to be a good hunter and fisherman.

How has education changed in the last 10 years? Technology has changed the ability for access to materials for both students and teachers.

What is your best advice to parents to help their child continue growing academically? Be involved! Whatever your child chooses to do, support them and immerse yourself in their passions. I have always had support from family in whatever I wanted to do and that pushed me to never settle for good.

If my students learn one thing this year, I hope it is… The importance of giving back through community service.

This photo was taken during homecoming spirit week.

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