From Rotary Club of Tucker
The Rotary Club of Tucker (RCT), a member club of Rotary International, has named Allysa McCarthy, culinary arts teacher at Tucker High School, as its 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year. McCarthy was honored as one of nine top DeKalb educators, one from each of the member clubs of the DeKalb Rotary Council. The annual awards were presented during an awards breakfast held on April 23 at the Dunwoody Country Club.
McCarthy has taught culinary arts at Tucker High School since 2015; before that, she worked in nutrition for thirteen years for the DeKalb County School District. She holds a B.S. in restaurant and culinary management from the Art Institute of Atlanta, and is an American Culinary Federation (ACF) certified culinarian. As a Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Department Chair for the DeKalb County School District, she helps integrate core academic knowledge with technical and occupational skills to prepare students for post-secondary education and the workforce. She is also a Family, Career and Community Leader of America (FCCLA) advisor for the state of Georgia, using family and consumer sciences education to help expand students’ leadership potential and develop their skills for life at home and in the workplace.
“Tucker High School is a beautiful mosaic,” said McCarthy. “We have students from all over the world, each bringing unique insights. In addition to teaching my students culinary skills, I encourage them to integrate their cultural experiences to enhance their learning experiences.”
Over the past five years, McCarthy has led her students to compete in culinary competitions, where they have consistently placed in the top two spots. Her students have also catered events for past DeKalb superintendents, Junior ROTC, Central Office Departments, Tucker High School, the Mayor of Tucker, Tucker Foundation, Georgia State College Fair.
“Culinary arts is an essential service industry. We all have to eat,” continued McCarthy. “There are many work opportunities in this field. However, to become exceptional in what you do, you must have a secret ingredient: gratitude. I teach my students that it is an honor and a privilege to serve someone. When we serve our guests, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, my scholars always say, ‘Thank you, it has been a pleasure serving you.’”
When she isn’t teaching or creating her next culinary masterpiece, McCarthy enjoys time with husband Greg, children Gregory and Brianna, and their black Labrador, Shadow. She also enjoys travelling, crochet and reading cookbooks.
“Chef McCarthy is a phenomenal teacher who is admired by our students and staff and widely respected across the entire school community,” said Dr. Eric Parker, principal at Tucker High School. “The genuine care she has for her students is admirable. As a culinary arts teacher, her talent has taken our program to another level, winning awards throughout DeKalb County. I value her work and commitment to Tucker High School, and thank her and her family for the countless hours she devotes to our students and our curriculum.”
“The Tucker Club’s support of education is made easier by educators like Chef McCarthy,” said Johnathan Clark, president of Rotary Club of Tucker. “As an FCCLA advisor, her role is to help prepare her students for adult careers that can support a family – not just making a difference in their lives but also in their communities. We are honored to recognize her with this well-deserved award.”