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Teacher in the Spotlight

By Christian Weaner


Rand Rosecrans, Culinary Arts

Lake Pend Oreille Alternative High School

Rand Rosecrans' career in culinary arts was notably impacted by a 5-foot Swiss-German chef whom Rand describes as "the biggest man I ever knew in the kitchen."

Chef Kretz was Rand's instructor during his studies at Western Culinary Institute (WCI), and he had a simple mantra—“Feed your crowd."

"Feed your crowd," Rand repeated. "It means find out what people need and give it to them."

Today, nearly three decades into his own culinary instructing career, Rand remains fixed on the mission of continually learning what it means to "feed [his] crowd."

Rand was born in McCall, Idaho, and later moved to Emmett, where he went to high school. After marrying his wife, Suzette, the couple moved to Portland, Oregon, for Rand to attend WCI.

In the mid-‘90s, Rand and Suzette headed north to Alaska, where they would spend the next two decades. For 16 years, the couple lived in the small Alaskan Bush town of Galena, and Rand taught culinary classes at Galena Interior Learning Academy, a Native boarding school.

"We decided to go live our dream," Rand said of the move to Alaska. "And that's what we did."

In 2016, as the couple searched for a new home in the contiguous United States, they eventually decided on Sandpoint, and at the behest of Suzette, Rand took a teaching job at Lake Pend Oreille Alternative High School.

Chef Rand, as his students call him, has become a beloved fixture at the school, and over the past seven years, he has come to love working with the wide variety of students who enter his classroom.

"You have 100 students and 100 different stories," Rand noted.

Rand's courses range from foods and nutrition and international cuisine to teen living, but his goal is simply to prepare students with the skills and confidence needed to become satisfied and successful community members. One way Rand does this is by teaching practical life skills like budgeting and instilling the importance of frugality and conservation.

"Good resource management and frugal use of materials is something that is at the very heart of my teaching," Rand emphasized.

Ultimately, Rand's prime directive is to help his students understand that challenges are just potential successes waiting to happen.

"They call my students 'at risk,'" Rand explained. "And one of my favorite sayings is: 'My [students] are at risk because they have had challenges that have prepared them for their risk to become their success."

Whether he is teaching his students to cook a soufflé or demonstrating how the school's subterranean irrigation planters work, Rand has found his "crowd," and he is working hard each day to faithfully "feed" them.

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