New foods teacher, a 1998 graduate, brings a wealth of life experience to school with him

Carlos Chavira, a 1998 graduate of Taft Union High School, has been hired as the school’s Foods and Nutrition teacher.

Chavira may be best known locally as the owner of the catering businesses, Flaco’s Tacos and Flaco’s Barbecue, named for his 11-year-old son, Chaz “Flaco” Chavira.

Chavira has a passion for family and food, Taft and teaching. “Taft is a good community. Taft has been good to us, good for our family,” he said.

When he was a Taft High sophomore, Chavira began dating Maggie, who is one year younger. At 19, he married his high school sweetheart. That was 19 years ago. Besides Chaz, they also have Jazmyn, 13, a Taft High freshman.

In high school, Chavira was a middle linebacker on the football team, a point guard on the basketball team, freshman class president, activities commissioner for the Associated Student Body, and homecoming king.

The native of Santa Maria not only married his sweetheart at 19 but also enlisted as a scout in the 82nd Airborne, an elite infantry division in the army. After a 3½-year stint in the military, he worked at the Taft Federal Prison and then the California National Guard in Bakersfield. After that, he pursued a career in the oil industry working for Western Drilling, Halliburton and then Chevron. When the oil industry began declining, he moved to teaching.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and a Master of Arts in human services counseling with a cognate (minor) in criminal justice from Liberty University, based in Lynchburg, VA.

He worked at Taft College as an academic adviser and then at the Taft Modified Community Correctional Facility as a general education teacher and computer literacy teacher.

He is working on his teaching credential through San Diego State University.

In his free time, Chavira and his wife have run Flaco’s Tacos since 2010. The family business is famous for fundraising for the community. “I like to help the community. It is a small town,” said Chavira, who also serves on the Taft High Hall of Fame Committee. He and his wife, who works in the payroll department at the Taft Federal Prison, enjoy weightlifting and, even now, he looks like he could move right back into his role as an elite infantry scout.