Cooking up a storm with Ms. Jones

Get to know Oakmont’s new culinary teacher.


Cali Rowe

Ms. Jones is in her element cooking at Oakmont.

Cali Rowe, Features Editor

Ever since its integration into the Oakmont campus, culinary has enticed many students.

Since the course is so beloved and unique, culinary is a staple for students looking to pursue a career in the cooking industry. The class is also beneficial for those who simply desire to learn new kitchen techniques and skills for day-to-day life.

After the departure of long-time teacher Ms. Cox, Oakmont welcomed Ms. Jones as a new culinary teacher this year.

Jones has been teaching culinary arts for around seven years, in both high school and college levels. 

Prior to teaching at Oakmont, she taught at a school situated within Sacramento County Juvenile Hall.

“This is my fourth year in high school. I also have three years of teaching college,” Jones said. “Previously, [I taught at] El Centro Junior/Senior High School…it’s the high school inside Sacramento County Juvenile Hall.”

Right away, Jones felt welcomed at Oakmont due to the rapid response from administrators throughout the district, as well as help from Mrs. Prosser, Oakmont’s resident culinary teacher.

“All of our administration are super responsive,” Jones said. “Even at the district level, everyone gets back to me really quickly which is awesome. [And] I’m super fortunate to have Mrs. Prosser, who has done this for many years, and is a well of information.”

Not only did Jones notice the outstanding Oakmont staff, but she also observed a more positive atmosphere among students than at previous schools she has worked at.

“Overall, I feel like our student body is happier and healthier and more engaged,” Jones said. “And…at school [students participate in] less of the risky high school student behaviors.”

Jones went through numerous years of schooling in order to get where she is today. She attended college, acquired a baking certificate, earned a certificate in dietary management, and became an executive pastry chef.

“I went to the University of Oregon, and studied political science and sociology,” Jones said. “Then I went to the California Culinary Academy and got a certificate in baking and pastry. Then I went to American River College and got a certificate in dietary management. Then, I went through the American Culinary Federation and became a certified executive pastry chef.”

Jones knew that she wanted to be a culinary teacher ever since she was a student learning the subject. She grew a great love for the subject through the culinary industry, and was eager to teach others crucial kitchen skills and knowledge.

“Since I was a culinary student, I wanted to be a teacher,”Jones said. “But I knew that I needed to learn something before I could teach it. So I enjoyed my time in the industry, and I jumped at the first opportunity to teach.”

With her experience in the culinary field, as well as an executive pastry chef certification, Jones is greatly acquainted with the ins-and-outs of the kitchen and has an advantage teaching students due to her practical expertise in the subject.

“I am much more confident and comfortable with my subject. I understand the technicalities of what we do,” Jones said. “I understand why things work the way they do.”

Jones believes that the culinary program helps to prepare students for a career in the food industry by showing them the challenges of the field, as well as many technical aspects of cooking. She also thinks that the variety of subjects and different skills covered in the class allows for students to practice skills needed in other classes. 

“It exposes them to the rigors because it is demanding but it also gives them a solid foundation of some of the techniques and the terminology,” Jones said. “It also helps provide practical application for all of the other classes that they’re taking.”

Even though Jones has had a notable schooling and teaching career, she is still continuing her lifelong learning quest by working to get a teaching certification.

“I am currently working on my National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which is another certification,” Jones said. 

Jones believes that her increased education has allowed her to grow as both a student and a person, because she feels like she is constantly finding new ways to learn more about herself.

“In every decade that I am a student, I am a better student than the decade before, because I know myself better, and I figured out how the system goes,” Jones said.