Archive for Sedona Campus


Fewer than 20 given Level II Chef Rating annually from Culinary Institute of America

Jennifer Jackson, who is considered a lead faculty member at the Yavapai College Culinary Institute of Sedona, recently became one of fewer than 20 people annually to earn a prestigious Level II Chef Rating from the Culinary Institute of America. The Institute is described by some as the world’s premier culinary college.

The rating is bestowed only on students who apply and are accepted to the Institute and who complete four days of rigorous examination and kitchen practice.

Ms. Jackson was professionally trained at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon and is a certified Professional Chef from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York.  Her first endeavor, “Good Things,” was a kitchen gift and antique store in Natchez, Mississippi.  Jennifer also owned and operated Delta Blues Gumbo, which provided her famous gumbo to numerous delicatessens in the Portland, Oregon area. 

She has been teaching cooking classes the past several years in Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Sedona.  Most recently she joined Yavapai Community College.  She also taught classes at Sur La Table – Fashion Square/Scottsdale and St. Mary’s Food Bank Community Kitchen. 

You may read more about the award in the online Verde Independent article by clicking here


Focus to be on noncredit courses including kids summer programs

Zachary Jernigan has been hired as Yavapai College’s Community Education Coordinator for the Verde Valley and Sedona.  He will be focusing on non-credit courses in the Verde Valley  including summer programs for kids. He begins January 16.

Jernigan is a journalist, college creative writing instructor and author. His novels, No Return and the Nebula Award-nominated Shower of Stones, are compiled in Jeroun: The Collected Omnibus. His short fiction has been selected by publishers for the Pushcart Prize and shortlisted for the Spectrum Award.

For the Fall 2017 semester, Jernigan is teaching CRW 139: Introduction to Creative Writing.

As a journalist for Larson newspapers, residents in the Verde Valley have enjoyed his reporting on education and other matters for the Cottonwood Journal Extra and the Camp Verde Journal.  His replacement at Larson Newspapers is Kelcie Grega.

Congratulations Mr. Jernigan.



Will effort fail like Film School because of lack of affordable student housing in the Verde Valley?

Yavapai Community College has an official name for its culinary program: The Sedona Culinary Institute of Yavapai College. It has enrolled 70 students in its first semester.

In an interview with Sedona Redrock News reporter Zachary Jernigan of 10 October, 2017 Institute instructor and acting director Jennifer Jackson said that the name was “deliberate.” She said she was “emphasizing regional identity and encouraging destination travelers.” She told Jernigan that ““We want people from out-of-state.”

Those of us who have watched the College for the past decade heard a similar message coming from the Internationally acclaimed Zaki Gordon Film school, which later became the Yavapai Film School. 

However, repeated pleas over a ten-year period from students and staff to find affordable housing for the film school students fell on deaf Prescott based Yavapai Community College Administrators. The obvious need for residence facilities was ignored by the three-member West County voting bloc on the Yavapai Community College District Governing Board. (Recall in December 2013 the West County voting bloc members said in a 4-1 vote that they were willing to close and sell the Sedona Center.)

Unless the Culinary Institute is to suffer the same fate as the Film school, the Community College must locate a residence hall on the Verde Campus or on land adjacent the Sedona Center.  Without it, ten years from now the College will once again be readying the Center for the auction block, just as it did back in 2013.

You may read all of Mr. Jernigan’s interview with Jennifer Johnson by clicking here.


Says now is the time to utilize local outstanding chefs in teaching specialties

Sedona resident Paul Chevalier spoke to the College District Governing Board at its September meeting and urged that the new Sedona Culinary school teach “more than the basics.”  He said that current classes are filling a gap that was once filled by high schools.  But he urged the College to do more.

“Teaching line-cooking skills is a good start,” he said, “but line cooks earn from the minimum wage to not much more than $14 an hour.” He surmised that with advanced specialty courses being offered, wages for Institute graduates would be much higher.

Chevalier urged the College to consider immediately starting an advanced program that utilized locally talented chefs who would  teach specialty classes.   He noted that Sedona has well-recognized outstanding chefs who could be called upon to help with the teaching.

You may view Mr. Chevalier’s comments to the Board below.


Celebrating the saving and remodeling of Sedona Center

Yavapai College has extended an invitation to members of the public to attend a special event at the College’s Sedona Center located at 4215 Arts Village Drive, Sedona.  The College describes the event  as the “re-launch” of the school’s Culinary Arts program. It will be held Tuesday, September 12 starting at 3:45 p.m.

Verde Valley Advocates who work tirelessly for improving post-secondary education will celebrate the saving of the Center and installation of significant learning opportunity programs for the Verde Valley.

Recall a majority of the College District Governing Board was happy to close down and sell the Center as a part of the ten-year Master Plan, which was adopted by the District Governing Board in a 4-1 vote (Oliphant dissenting) in December, 2013 .  However, vigorous advocacy by residents of Sedona and the Verde Valley plus strong vocal support opposing the closing of the Center from the former and present Sedona mayor and City Council were instrumental in bringing to a halt the closing and sale.

Advocacy also was necessary in order to persuade the College to renovate and construct the facilities for a culinary program. It came from many quarters including the now shuttered Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee, former Verde Valley representative Al Filardo, and  Verde Valley District #2 representative Deb McCasland.

For those who question whether the College was contemplating possibly selling the Sedona Center, the Blog has included below the development chart presented to the Governing Board and approved 4-1.   The red arrow points to the statement reading, “Sell Existing Sedona Center.”    Also note that there were no funds allocated to the Sedona Center in the chart for renovation of any kind as a part of the College’s ten-year-plan for County Community College development.  However, the chart shows an estimated $44 million allocated to various West County projects during this phase of development.

Verde Valley Campus Executive Dean Dr. James Perey will make opening remarks, after which he will introduce special guest speakers, including Yavapai College District Governing Board member Dr. Connie Harris, Sedona Mayor Sandy Moriarty, and Yavapai College President Dr. Penny Wills, who will all speak about the occasion.

To read the College press release regarding this event, please click here. 


 Newly renovated Center open to public  from 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, July 26

The public is invited to what the College describes as a “Sedona Center Program Preview Day from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, July 26.”  The College will provide a tour of the facility for visitors. 

The Sedona Center is located at 4215 Arts Village Drive, Sedona, Arizona.  For information about the Center and the July 26 event, please click here.



Sedona officials and Verde Valley citizens forced College to retract original decision to potentially sell the Center; it is now a “key component” of “master plan”

Per an article appearing in the Verde independent on July 11, 2017, which was apparently provided by the Community College public relations department, the College claims “The Sedona Center expansion is a key component of the college’s master plan.”  Click here to read the article in the Verde Independent.

The article also says that the Sedona Center “addresses the growing demand for graduates with culinary and hospitality skills. Sedona and its Verde Valley neighbors attract millions of tourists annually who are lured by the unique scenery, myriad cultural attractions and a flourishing wine industry.”

What a change from December, 2013 when the Governing Board approved potentially selling the Sedona Center and pocketing the money to build a huge allied health facility in Prescott Valley. Both the plan to sell the Center and the plan to build a huge allied health facility collapsed.

You may click here to read the March 2016 Master Plan update.


Hotel management and hospitality and restaurant management and hospitality still looking for students

Per a story written by Zachary Jernigan in the Sedona red Rock news, Wednesday, July 12, 2017  the culinary courses that are being offered at the Sedona Center are already full. This is five weeks before the semester begins. However, the hotel management and hospitality course and restaurant management and hospitality course are still looking for students to sign up.

You may read the entire story in the Red Rock news by clicking here.



Newly renovated Center open to public  from 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, July 26

The public is invited to what the College describes as a “Sedona Center Program Preview Day from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, July 26.”  The College will provide a tour of the facility for visitors. 

The Sedona Center is located at 4215 Arts Village Drive, Sedona, Arizona.  For information about the Center and the July 26 event, please click here.

For more information and a schedule of classes, visit the college’s website at Updated information about the culinary arts and hospitality programs is available by contacting Call 928-634-6560. For class registration, visit, or contact the Yavapai Community College  Answer Center,, 928-634-6520.


Sedona Center alive and well thanks to effective advocacy and political opposition to closing


Recall that in December 2013 the College and a majority on the District Governing Board agreed to sell the Sedona Center and the Chino Valley Center, while also selling and then  rebuilding the Prescott Valley Center at a cost estimated around $50 million.  Furthermore, recall that the December 2013 ten-year-plan allocated more than 95% of $103.5 million to specific West County development. There was not a penny for Sedona Center development.

At best, the development plan suggested that the College lease 10,000 square feet sometime in the future for a Sedona facility. (The College killed off the nationally recognized film school in Sedona no doubt in preparation for the possible sale and also closed down virtually all for-credit courses.)

To many, the College plan was  to restrict development of almost all Community College live classes and all other live activity to the West side of the County. Specifically,  in the Prescott/Prescott Valley area.

The College administration misjudged the Verde Valley. When word came of the closing and selling of the Sedona Center, there was an outpouring of opposition to the plan.  The administration may have  also misjudged Sedona’s former and present mayor and Sedona’s City Council. While they were extremely polite in their response to the contemplated closing and selling of the Sedona Center, they were forceful and  unanimous in vocal opposition to the decision.  

Another part of the plan, intended for Prescott Valley, also fell through. Apparently, the administration failed to foresee the possibility of Northern Arizona University (NAU) backing away from the plan for a major health complex in Prescott Valley. NAU’s reluctance surfaced   after it hired a new President. It wasn’t long after that when the College announced it was scuttling plans for the $50 million plus development in Prescott Valley and reducing future expenditures to around $18 million.

The College administration has also backpedaled on its decision to close the Chino Valley Center.  It has given Chino Valley a reprieve of several years to increase enrollment.

The overall result of not selling the centers  is to begin returning the Community College to one that serves all the citizens of the County. While there is a long way to go, the trend to locate virtually all live classes and activities in Prescott/Prescott Valley has at least been slowed. 

Below is a copy of a portion of the original December 2013 plan as approved by a majority of the District Governing Board. It shows their intention to sell the three centers.  The Blog couldn’t resist reminding readers of the plan as the College prepares for an open house at the newly renovated Sedona Center.