Amy Loughran knows her way around a kitchen and she knows her way around a classroom. For her, the two venues are the one and the same.

The culinary arts teacher was chosen as Copperas Cove High School’s Teacher of the Year.

Russell Porterfield, Copperas Cove Independent School District director of career technology education, said Loughran is outstanding because of the way she is able to build relationships with all students.

“She stands out as a staff member that is dependable and hardworking and always has a positive attitude,” Porterfield said. “She goes above and beyond working with three clubs on campus: Culinary, FCCLA and DECA. The Culinary Club caters numerous events throughout the year including the boys and girls basketball banquet. The Culinary Club also caters the CTSO banquet for almost 500 each year. Additionally, these students work as servers for the state of the city address each year. Furthermore, students learn relevant work skills.”

The high school recently received a call from the owner of the Plate Factory, formerly Oxbow Steakhouse in Belton, which shared it was very impressed with the training of a former student of Loughran’s and wanted to find out how it could build a partnership with the school district.

“Ms. Loughran’s positive attitude and work ethic brings light to CCHS every day. Students in Ms. Loughran’s class genuinely love her and that is the reason so many of them are willing to work long hours after school to cater events with her,” Porterfield said. “Additionally, her positive attitude has a great impact on the culture of our campus and the Career Technology Education department as a whole. Ms. Loughran inspires learning by having students work with the curriculum in a creative and hands on fashion.”

Students often work in small groups or teams to design their menus for competitions such as "Cupcake Wars" and "Iron Chef," which is reflected in their letter grades for the class. Students must be self-directed and Loughran functions as a true facilitator. Students learn the skills and teamwork required to be successful in the culinary industry.

“I love being a teacher,” Loughran said. “When you find your passion, it is the best feeling. My favorite part of being a teacher is my students. I know it’s cliche to say making a difference in their lives is the best, but ultimately they are changing our lives.”

Loughran serves on the CTE leadership team helping to develop a CTE manual for the department and she has served in this type of position as needed multiple times.

“I couldn’t believe that I was chosen as CCHS teacher of the year,” Loughran said. “When I think of those chosen in the past, they are incredible educators who have been in education for years. I love that not only did I get my five year pin with CCISD this year, but I was also selected as teacher of the year. It truly is an honor to be selected like those before me.”

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