After 42 years in education, Culinary teacher Wanda Carrington retires

By: Mariana De Jesus 

SWEET SMILE: Wanda Carrington smiles as she addresses her second period classroom with her culinary four students. After having worked at West Broward for 10 years teaching culinary arts and after being in education for 42 years, Carrington has stepped down from her teaching position and will be fully retired by the end of the 2022 school year. Photo by Mariana De Jesus

   The multiple career and technical programs at West Broward are accompanied by experienced educators willing to go to great lengths to provide their students with the information they will need to succeed in that career field. The popular Culinary Arts program has been run by educator Wanda Carrington for the past 10 years. The atmosphere in the culinary room is subject to change in the 2022-2023 school year, when the program’s beloved instructor will have retired from her teaching services. 

   Carrington started her culinary journey when she first received a degree in Home Economics from Alabama A&M (Agricultural and Mechanical) University in Huntsville, Alabama. Carrington began teaching at the age of 21 in Selma, Alabama up until 1990 when she moved to Broward County and began working at Cooper City High School teaching home economics. Carrington has devoted ten years to teaching the students at West Broward Culinary Arts and a total of 42 years working in education altogether. Throughout her ten years teaching culinary, Carrington not only focuses on teaching students the curriculum, but also strives to teach students valuable life skills that they can utilize outside of the classroom.

“I just love helping students to learn and help prepare them for their future,” Carrington said. “I love teaching students more than just coming to class and doing academics, but rather teaching them how to get to where they are supposed to be on time, how to be respectful, how to treat people and the things employers are going to expect from you on a job.”

   During her years at West Broward, Carrington has taught grades ninth through twelfth in the classes culinary one, two, three, four and a research class geared towards allowing the students to apply the knowledge of what they learn in class. A key component of the culinary program is the opportunity to take the ServSafe certification test where students who pass become certified and show they are qualified to work in any restaurant once they turn 18. Through the strategy of stern rules and maintaining structure in her classroom, Carrington has successfully guided 100 students or approximately 90 percent of her students through the process of preparing for the test.

   “Past students sometimes say my class was strict, but that’s how it was in the real world. I have structure in my class and I teach them the things they need to know, and many are successful,” Carrington said. “You want to make sure you do what you are supposed to do. And if you learn those behaviors in high school, then that transition will be a lot easier for you when you face the real world.”

   Carrington allows creativity to flow in her classroom as her students learn all the essentials when it comes to preparing food, washing dishes, properly managing a kitchen and all the different tasks that need to be completed in an authentic restaurant. Carrington’s teaching methods that have allowed students to be properly educated on the complexities of culinary, is only one factor of Carrington that students could only hope for in the future culinary teacher.

   “Mrs. Carrington gives us the freedom to make the dishes we want to create versus someone who just gives us a random recipe to make,” said junior culinary student Kimberly Carr. “She loves us and I’m hoping that the new students get a great teacher because no one can replace Ms. Carrington.”

   The students who had the opportunity to sit in Carringtons classroom can appreciate having known such an enlightened figure. As teaching culinary at West Broward comes to an end in Carringtons life, her time teaching was well spent and greatly appreciated by the West Broward community. 

   “Mrs. Carrington is one of our teachers who goes back to the way education used to be. She applies the rules as they’re given and holds her expectations to be consistent with every child,” said Career and technical education (CTE) advisor Wendy Sanchez. “She’s lovely and dependable when you need to have that conversation or find her to talk about the things that the culinary program had the potential to do. Also, ever since she inherited the job, she has had a lot of success over the years with her students passing the ServSafe test.

  Carrington can now look forward to many years of doing the things she enjoys like gardening and spending time with family which she had a limited amount of time to do because she was always working hard with her students. 

   “I’m looking forward to getting plenty of rest, gardening, planting vegetables, and visiting my relatives more frequently,” Carrington said. “I will miss teaching because it is the end of a career that I started, but it’s time for me to let it go.” 

CULINARY CRAFT:  (From left to right)  Level number culinary students, brothers Diquan and Quamonze Bouie stand next to Mrs. Carrington as she oversees them on how to make a sweet oreo cheesecake. Carringtons culinary students have the opportunity to make meals and desserts for the different events that take place on campus, being able to display their culinary abilities.  Photo by Mariana De Jesus

CHEFS KISS: Culinary four student Axel Hernandez (second from left) is surrounded by other members of his group as they prepare a delicious platter of macaroni and cheese. Carrington facilitated her students with all the necessities and information they needed to create quality dishes that their class could enjoy. Photo by Mariana De Jesus