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A local pastry arts instructor has been named Educator of the Year by an organization devoted to vocational studies.

Brian Peffley, an instructor at Lebanon County Career & Technology Center, was recognized for student development and program leadership, according to a June 24 release from SkillsUSA.

SkillsUSA, according to the release, is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry founded in 1965 to strengthen the nation’s skilled workforce. “SkillsUSA is driven by employer demand to help students develop necessary personal and workplace skills along with technical skills grounded in academics,” the organization explains.

Peffley won an Outstanding Career & Technical Educator award for his participation in SkillsUSA and career and technical education.

“One of SkillsUSA’s highest recognitions, the Educator of the Year is awarded for outstanding individuals who guide SkillsUSA members to becoming leaders in their chosen fields,” the release states. “Not awarded regularly, it is given only when the SkillsUSA Board of Directors wants to honor an exceptional educator for their service and dedication to career and technical education and SkillsUSA.”

Peffley has been a pastry arts instructor at LCCTC for 25 years and a SkillsUSA adviser for 24. He has taught, mentored, and coached many students to compete in the SkillsUSA Championships in Commercial Baking, Restaurant Service, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Job Skill Demo A and Action Skills.

Brian Peffley, an instructor at Lebanon County Career & Technology Center, was named Educator of the Year by SkillsUSA. (Photo provided by SkillsUSA)

For 12 years, Peffley has worked with the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission, presently serving as the commission’s secondary chair. He also received the commission’s first secondary accredited baking pastry program certification in the country.

Peffley holds ACF certifications as a Certified Executive Pastry Chef and as a Certified Culinary Educator. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs.

The SkillsUSA announcement notes that Peffley and another instructor operate a successful lunchtime eatery, “where his students learn all aspects of running a restaurant, including safety and sanitation, menu planning, inventory ordering, food preparation, dining room service and management, and special event planning and preparation.”

Over the years, SkillsUSA says in the release, students in the program “have won many best-of-show awards for their gingerbread house creations. His students are also very active in the community.” Also, Peffley and his co-instructor worked for almost 10 years to bring an accredited postsecondary apprenticeship program to Lebanon County; it operates in conjunction with the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts.

Chelle Travis, executive director of SkillsUSA since 2019, praised Peffley for his “inspiring” dedication to his work.

“Brian is a SkillsUSA champion with a true passion for helping students develop their talents and leadership,” Travis said.

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