Phone: 941-575-5450


Degrees and Certifications:

Undergraduate dual major, Business/Political Science (St Mary of the Plains College, Dodge City, Kansas). Master's degree Political Science/ Public Administration (Ft Hays State University, Hays Kansas). ServSafe Food Protection Manager/Proctor, United States Coast Guard 1600 Ton Master's License.

Mr. Paul DeGaeta




Welcome to Charlotte High School Culinary Arts. Please review your specific classes under their syllabus. There you will find expectations, supplies needed and valuable information about the course.

A little (actually a bunch) about me:

My name is Paul DeGaeta. I teach Culinary Arts I, II/III, and IV. I am a proud Tarpon who graduated from Charlotte High School in 1972. My late wife, Joyce, was the bookkeeper here and our three sons were Tarpons. They were here during the Hurricane Charley years and the long rebuild of CHS.

I became a late-in-life teacher as a way of "giving back" to my school and community. I was named Tarpon Alum of the Year in 2009, was twice honored as Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5690’s, Charlotte County Teacher of the Year, and was named the 2013 VFW District 10, National Citizenship Teachers Award Winner for Grades 9-12 (as a history teacher). I began my teaching career in a Behaviour Unit. I hold certifications in ESE, Social Science and English.  I currently teach Culinary and am a ServSafe Certified Instructor/Proctor, with many years in the food service industry as a caterer or overseeing a food delivery system in a small passenger cruise business I owned. 

I hold undergraduate degrees in Business and Political Science, and a Masters in Public Administration. I served for a decade on the Charlotte County Board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. More importantly, I have had a variety of real-world experiences that I bring to the classroom. That includes being a Policy Analyst for two Kansas Governors, being a corporate yacht captain for a Fortune 400 CEO for the founder of Domino's Pizza and owner of the 1984 World Series Champion, Detroit Tigers, and Ave Maria (Naples community and college) developer, Tom Monaghan. I wrote a history column for eight years for five editions of the New York Times-owned Sarasota Herald-Tribune. My articles have been published in the Kansas Govt. Journal, Florida Sportsman and Harbor Style Magazines. I've self-published four history books and two editions of a cookbook.  I also hold a 1600-ton Master's License and from 1990-2018, I co-owned and sailed the American National Historic Landmark Schooner, Victory Chimes. She is a windjammer in Maine that I got to sail during the summer. She had a galley with a cook and two prep chefs that served up to 150 meals a day.

My courses teach lifelong skills. You will also get a huge dose of real-world experiences and learn how to practice "situational awareness" in my classroom. My courses prepare students for jobs in the Hospitality Industry. Currently, students who have come through our Culinary program at CHS have worked at over 60 up-scale restaurants, chains and retirement homes around Charlotte County. Several manage restaurants and one is already an owner. After graduation, two of my advanced ServSafe Certified students even worked aboard my schooner in Maine, an experience they will remember the rest of their lifetime! With Sunseeker Resort expected to bring 19 Food Courts into the county when they open (Expected 2023). CHS's Culinary Program is a pathway to such jobs .

Finally, I love Charlotte High School. I developed the CHS 1972 Reunion Committee Scholarship, Joyce DeGaeta Community Scholarship, and the Askin/Kidd/Levins Vietnam Essay Scholarship. These have awarded more than $90,000 to Tarpon seniors over the past 25 years. Each year I award a Culinary Scholarship to one of my students who will pursue that as a career.  I also serve as the unofficial CHS Historian. Here's one bit of history I'm proud of: Me and my three sons are the winningest family in Tarpon football history. We notched 82 wins, earning two Regional and six District Titles. That helped pay for college for two of us. 

One last thought, if you've read this far: We have a saying, "Tarpon Pride, Family, Tradition." If you come and open yourself to what being a Tarpon means, and what this incredible school offers, you'll see why those words have been the foundation of Punta Gorda and Charlotte County since 1926! As an example, the Charlotte County Emergency Management Director, Wayne Sallade and Punta Gorda Chief of Police,  Chuck Rinehardt  were both Tarpon classmates of mine. They led this community through one of the most devastating hurricanes to make a landfall in U.S. history, Category 4 Hurricane Charley, saving hundreds of lives. There's probably not another public high school in America that has as many of its graduates who have returned to their former high school, like me, to give back.