School Board Profile: Terrance M. Mayers Sr.

Terrance Mayers has packed a lot of living into his 38 years. His journey has taken him from the football fields of Western Washington to international culinary school to bustling restaurant kitchens all over the world.

In April 2021, the father of two took on a brand new challenge when he was appointed to the Bethel School Board. It’s a challenge he feels up to, and in many ways it’s one he’s been preparing for his entire life.

Mayers was born in Oakland, California, and later moved with his mom and two brothers to Washington State. His early passions were for football and cooking, and after graduating from Kent Meridian High School he followed his heart — and stomach — to the International Culinary School in Vancouver, British Columbia.

That decision turned out to be one of the more consequential choices in his life. Not only did it solidify his desire to be a chef, but it’s also where he met his future wife.

“That made a big impact on my life. It was one of the first stepping stones to actually seeing the world and expanding my horizons,” Mayers said of his time in Canada.

After completing his externship with iconic chef Bruno Marti at La Belle Auberge in Vancouver, Mayers and his wife — who is French — moved to Paris so he could pursue his culinary dreams. As a classically trained French chef, Mayers felt right at home in a Parisian kitchen. But he was hungry for bigger challenges, so he took his passion for cooking to restaurants in Florida, Las Vegas, and right here in Washington.

Once he and his wife started their own family, Mayers knew his time in the kitchen was coming to a close. The life of a professional chef requires long nights and grueling weekends at work, and he quickly realized that it wasn’t a lifestyle conducive with raising two children.

That’s when Mayers switched things up. He returned to school and earned a degree in Applied Science, with a focus on computer networking. He brought his new skills to King County, where he took a job as a Project Manager in the county’s Office of Emergency Management. The job allows Mayers to get out into his community and help people in need.

“I get to see tangible results and know I’m helping these communities,” he said. “We do community vaccine events. I’m supplying PPE to restaurants. I’m playing my part to make sure we’re contributing.”

Always seeking out new learning opportunities, Mayers later returned to school once again to earn a Project Management certification from Rutgers University.

“I love to learn,” Mayers said. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to get involved with the School Board. I always told myself, you have to be more involved, especially if you’re a parent and especially if you’re a minority parent. Being present and using your voice is important.”

Mayers, who now lives in Graham, felt compelled to apply for the School Board position when it was announced that former Board Member Cindy Henry-Young was stepping down earlier this year. His twin priorities during his first year on the board have been Equity and Child Nutrition — two issues he’s long been passionate about.

“I’m truly excited about the process and bringing my thoughts and ideas to the table,” he said. “I want to make sure that children shouldn’t want or need for food. That’s paramount.”

To say this has been a consequential year in Mayers’ life would be a vast understatement. Not only did he take on the new responsibilities of the School Board, but he also experienced a host of tragedies in his personal life.

“This pandemic has been rough on my family,” Mayers said. “We lost four members of my extended family to COVID. It’s important that we cherish the ones we love and we don’t take moments for granted.”

When his family moved into the district last year, they weren’t sure what they were getting into, but Mayers said Bethel has exceeded his expectations in nearly every way.

“This a great school district,” he said. “The teachers, the administrative staff, everyone — especially during COVID times — were just outstanding. The effort that teachers have made to make sure they’re proactive in getting resources to our kids has been top of the line. I’m so grateful.”