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      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      Educational Institute Honors Michael Cucciardo as Outstanding High School Educator

      Chicago, Illinois, June 24, 2009 - Michael Cucciardo, teacher and hospitality program administrator at Hospitality High School in Washington, D.C., is the 2009 recipient of the Lamp of Knowledge Award for Outstanding High School Educator, presented by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. Cucciardo received the award during the AH&LA Summer Summit in Chicago, during the AH&LA Stars of the Industry Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, June 24.

      Cucciardo's involvement in the hospitality industry spans more than three decades serving in a variety of positions in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C. areas. For six years, he has been involved with the Hospitality High School as both a teacher and administrator of hospitality programs. This unique high school provides an academic program that supports students in entering the workforce or pursuing post-secondary studies in hospitality. The graduation rate at the high school surpasses all local and national public school standards at greater than 90 percent and is a model for other school systems considering similar programs. The Hospitality High School has been a leading competitor in the AH&LEI Lodging Management Program National Competition for several years.

      Cucciardo received his bachelor of arts in secondary education from Marquette University in Milwaukee, and received his Certified Hospitality Instructor (CHI) designation from the Educational Institute through participation in summer learning programs at noted hospitality management universities. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in education, focusing on human resources and adult workforce development programs, through the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

      About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
      Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute’s mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

      Elizabeth Johnson - ejohnson@ahla.com

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