Edible Schoolyard Program at Arthur Ashe Welcomes New Staff

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Edible Schoolyard culinary program at Arthur Ashe has resumed kitchen classes for first through fourth graders.  New Lead Chef Educator, Jeranika Semian, aka “Ms Jae,” who has taught science at Ashe for the past three years, is firing up the ovens and creating lessons that weave science, math, ELA and social studies into her classes.  A skilled middle school science teacher, Ms. Jae is finishing her masters in business administration this semester and when not teaching, runs her own catering company. Students will also learn much from Assistant Chef Educator Derrick Johnson, who has years of formal culinary training and who served as a sous chef and culinary educator for a local catering company before joining the FirstLine team in August. Both Ms. Jae and Mr. Johnson are New Orleans natives and love our culinary traditions!  


Ms. Jae says, “I’m excited to use my career expertise and food truck experience in the classroom while teaching students the fundamentals of cooking. It brings joy to my work watching them get excited to try new things and to share with their teachers here at Ashe.” We look forward to the resumption of ESY culinary events such as Iron Chef and Market-to-Table, where our students work with local chefs to produce tasty meals shared with their families and friends.

In the garden, ESY has welcomed a new Lead Garden Educator, Dr. Abisoye Igenoza, who comes to us with years of experience teaching agriculture and garden education in Nigeria and the United States, and who holds a PhD in Agriculture. She says, “I am excited about guiding the kids to grow, harvest, taste, and cook food in the garden.” Camille Grundy, whose deep investment in service work inspired her year of City Year service at Ashe, has also joined the team as Associate Garden Educator.


We are so excited to welcome these new team members to the ESY family, who will teach our students to make healthy connections to food and the natural world. Stay tuned for information on upcoming ESY events at Arthur Ashe.