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NAAE Region IV Updates

42 posts
Parker Bane

Get Excited!!!

Posted by Parker Bane May 4, 2017

....For the 2017 Region IV Conference in Indiana. Seth Swallow, Scott Johnson, and the IAAE crew have put together a great schedule of professional development, including tours of the Caterpillar Engine Manufacturing Facility in Lafayette, Subaru of Indiana, the HopKnoXious Hops Farm, and RDM Shrimp Farm. You can find the link to registration here:  Purdue Conferences - NAAE - Region IV Conference / June 27-29, 2017 .


In addition to outstanding professional development, we will be conducting NAAE's committee work and seeking input on each standing committee's talking points. We will also spend some time discussing next year's conference in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Of course, don't forget all of the great conversation and fellowship that occurs at our social functions and in the hospitality area.


Thank you to IAAE for planning a great conference.  Please contact Seth, Scott, or me if you have questions!




Parker Bane

Convention Time!

Posted by Parker Bane Oct 13, 2016

Where has the time gone?  It seems like school just started, and now the gavel is getting ready to fall for National FFA Convention!


I have had many memorable moments at National FFA Convention, from the first one I attended in Kansas City, Missouri, to the transitions between Louisville and Indianapolis, each year has been special in some way.


As I mentioned at our Region IV Conference this summer, I am continually impressed by the effort that our region's programs put in at each convention. The agriculture programs of Region IV will most certainly represent us well at convention again this year!  Best of luck to those of you who have students competing at convention this year!


One of my favorite memories is actually a throwback to my first year of teaching. I will never forget going to the National FFA Convention dance. Getting the students into the dance wasn't a big problem. I gave them their tickets and walked them to the entrance. From there, I went to have some "Derby Pie" at the Executive West hotel with the teachers under whom I student taught (Mark Steber and Jamie VanDyke from Olney, Illinois). After finishing our snack, I returned to the dance to help supervise, only to be turned away because the doorman thought I looked to young to be an advisor.


After about 5 minutes of argument, I finally showed my ID, proving that I was, in fact, 23 years old and ineligible to be a student member. Of course, it didn't help that one of my students at the time looked like he was 35. After all the trouble though, it ended up being a good experience for the students and we returned home safely at the end of convention. To me, those two things are the most important aspects of the experience.


For all those attending convention, I wish you safe travels! I look forward to seeing you at the NAAE Booth in the expo and around the convention center.

I hope that your summers are all going very well!  I have to start out this post by giving a huge recognition to the OAAE for the 2016 Region IV Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. All who attended were treated to awesome professional development and hospitality. I look forward to next year's conference in Indiana!


As the summer winds down and the school year ramps up, I would like to get you thinking about ways to serve in our profession. As I've spent some time over the last couple of days trying to line up a goat judge for our section agricultural education fair, it struck me that there's always work to be done for our students, and we are the ones stepping to the plate to provide the opportunities. Whether it be finding goat judges, finding a location for the district meeting, or planning professional development for the state conference, there are many opportunities to lead and serve. As you prepare to start a new school year, how can you find ways to use your time and talents to serve? Of course our state associations all have these opportunities. However, there are also opportunities to serve at the national level.


Committee service is one of the best ways to get involved on the national level. Those of you already on committees might want to consider stepping up to serve as a committee chair or vice-chair. Chair and vice-chair candidates should complete a memorandum of understanding by September 15th. If you have questions about serving on a committee for NAAE, please contact me. You may also find more information by clicking here. The memorandum of understanding can be found at that link as well.


Additionally, NAAE has elected offices and appointed positions. You can learn about NAAE's leadership and volunteer opportunities by clicking here.


For the NAAE elected positions, a signed memorandum of understanding is required by September 15th.


Whether your interests are local, state, or national, I hope you consider serving in a NAAE leadership capacity!


Best wishes for the start of a new school year!

I hope this post finds you well!


I can say without any hesitation that summer has been kind to me so far. Our family has gotten to spend some quality time together and also with our school communities as well. We have had the opportunity to take part in some honored traditions in our communities, as well as pursue some new opportunities as we look back on the school year that just finished, and look forward to the school year that is yet to be.


One of those honored traditions is the upcoming Region IV conference in Ohio. I am really excited to take part in the program that OAAE has put together. If you have been to a Region IV Conference, you've been treated to some awesome experiences. This year will be no different. What strikes me about this year's program is the diversity of professional development that OAAE has planned. Get ready for a new spin on animal science as we will be visiting the Cincinnati Zoo. Our trip to the Consolidated Grain and Barge and Motz Turf Farm will provide well-rounded professional development and get us to facilities that are sure to impress! Of course, I'm also excited about getting to spend some time with the best and brightest leaders in ag education from across the region. I have to admit, though, that there are a few Cubs fans coming to the conference (I root for St. Louis), that I may have to take some heat from given our respective teams' current trajectories.


We will be unveiling a new committee application process in addition to judging awards and discussing the issues that are most pressing to NAAE. I can't wait to see you all there!


Safe travels to Cincinnati!

Parker Bane

Humble and Kind

Posted by Parker Bane Apr 5, 2016

If you ask former students about their old agriculture teachers, you will probably receive many descriptive words. Words like competitive, hard-nosed, fun-loving, and maybe even crazy-driving will eventually surface. However, two more words, now made popular in a Tim McGraw song, will also surface...humble and kind. These qualities are deeply rooted in our agricultural lifestyle and they are to be admired. However, sometimes I believe that agriculture teachers can be too humble and kind.


Think about your colleagues. How many agriculture teachers, community college instructors, state staff, and professors are out there that have had an immeasurable impact? I would be willing to bet that in your mind, you could name ten without even blinking an eye. The NAAE award programs provide an opportunity to recognize our outstanding peers. The problem is...sometimes the best among us are often too humble and kind to apply! My appeal today is to ask you to consider shifting your mindset from, "I do not need the recognition," to "what could this recognition do for my students, school and community?"   


Honestly, my own experiences with the NAAE award programs kept me going when I needed it the most. In particular, receiving recognition in the Teachers Turn the Key program, which got me to my very first NAAE Conference in Las Vegas, and the Outstanding Teacher Program did wonders for my school, community, and students. The award programs helped legitimize the agriculture program in our school and drew attention to the positive things that our students were doing. Additionally, the publicity from the recognition excited community members and energized supporters. The professional development opportunities afforded to me at the NAAE Conference got me excited about the association and exposed me to career-building opportunities like CASE and the Teach Ag Campaign. I have not yet been to the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy, but someday I plan to apply because I have seen the impact that the program has on participants. If you have questions about the NAAE Award programs or would like to see sample applications, I would be happy to assist you!


Finally, registration will be opening soon for the 2016 NAAE Region IV Conference in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. The conference will be held June 28-30. This will be a great conference, organized by the OAAE!

Parker Bane

Learning in Progress!

Posted by Parker Bane Feb 1, 2016

You might be able to tell that this is my first blog post, so I thank you in advance for bearing with me as I learn the ropes.  If I could put yellow caution tape around this, it would say "Learning in Progress."    Allow me to start by introducing myself.  My name is Parker Bane, and I teach agriculture in a high school-only district in Pontiac, Illinois.  I have been blessed with wonderful students, a wonderful community, supportive administration, and the best teaching partner that I could ask for in Jesse Faber.  I am equal parts excited and humbled to have been entrusted to serve you as the Region IV Vice President.


Professionally, I have to say that I owe my career to NAAE.  Programs like Teachers Turn the Key, the Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher Program, and CASE are what have kept me energized and active in the profession.  On a personal level, I feel like the luckiest man around to be living in Towanda, Illinois with my fiancee', Angie (who teaches agriculture in Tremont) and daughter, Ella.


I started writing this post at the Northern Illinois 212 Conference.  As I hung around the teacher room at the conference, I did a lot of listening.  There was a lot of wisdom to be gleaned.  Among the younger teachers, you could hear the enthusiasm and innovation occurring.  Middle-agers like myself seemed to be worried about insurance and family concerns, and the long timers were talking about how blessed they felt to get a few more conferences in before they retire.  Then, it occurred to me.  No matter what stage of career we are in, as agriculture educators, we always seem to work under the banner "Learning in Progress."


We are coming into a busy time of year, and we are all going to be learning a lot.  From committee work to new curriculum to the latest FFA program, there is always so much to take in as a member of the profession.  As we move into the new year, please take a look at summer professional development such as your State conferences, CASE Institutes, National Agriscience Teacher Ambassadors, and our Region IV Leadership Conference, which will be held in the Cincinnati, Ohio area June 28-30, 2016.  If I can be of service to you, please let me know.  My email is  Region IV Secretary, Deanna Thies can be reached at  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Growing up in a small rural community that was 16 hours away from Kansas City, MO, (I know that was a long time ago), I never had the chance to attend the National FFA Convention as a high school student. It was not until I was elected as a state FFA officer, I had the opportunity to attend my first convention. I can remember the trip like it was yesterday.

The officer team spent the night at the home of the closest officer to the airport the night before we left. I am pretty sure I did not sleep a wink. We all woke at 3:00 a.m. to ride a bus to the airport. This would be my first time flying on a jet plane. I have to admit, I was scared to death. We boarded the plane and had a few flight changes and lay-overs, but we finally arrived and checked in to the hotel. I was sure this was the nicest hotel I had ever stayed in. 


The next morning, we all rose and put on our freshly pressed official dress to attend our first delegates meeting. The air was brisk as we stepped outside for the short walk across the square to the convention center. I was in awe as members from each state fled into the convention hall. The excitement was contagious. I had never experienced so many blue jackets all in one place.


The rest of convention quickly became a blur, from one amazing speaker to the next, the laser light show, and not to mention, 10,000 FFA members all performing the chicken dance as the convention organist played. I could not believe I had been a FFA member for four years and never attended this fantastic event.


Even though I had missed out on four years of convention, I am here to tell you that I have not missed one since. Each year, my students experience the same uncontainable excitement, fear of leaving our home state, the comforts of home, and the pure joy of sharing this experience with 40,000 of their closest friends.


As an agricultural educator, one of the highlights of the year is taking my students to National FFA Convention in our big yellow school bus. Our students work diligently to earn a spot on the convention list. While on the trip, they learn the value of teamwork, sharing a room with others, compromising on where to eat next, budgeting how much to spend so they still have enough for those really cool boots, and they have not even entered the convention hall yet. This is not just another field trip, it is a lifelong learning event. Yes, there are bumps along the way, plans that do not work out, hotels that are less than desirable, and lots of hall sitting at night, but it is worth every minute of it. 

I hope to see each and every one of you running around Louisville in a few days, as we give our students an experience of a lifetime. If your school is not sending students, I would encourage you to make plans to be there next year. It will be worth it. 


In closing, I would like to thank each of you for all you do for every student who walks in your door each day. Thanks for all the overtime you will never get paid for and the expenses you never are reimbursed for. Most importantly, thanks for making a positive difference in the lives of your students. 

Thanks again,


I cannot believe that the start of school is less than a month away. My, how the summer has flown by, but you know what they say, "Time flies when you are having fun."


Fun was one thing everyone who attended the Region IV NAAE Conference in Moline had. The tours were amazing, and if you did not get your fill of John Deere, you must have been hiding under a rock.  The leadership team from Illinois must be commended for an excellent conference. I would like to thank each delegate for their careful consideration and input in conducting the business of our association.  Your input will ensure that our organization has a bright future, and will continue to meet the needs of the members who make up our organization. If you have any more thoughts or ideas about bettering our organization, please forward them to Parker Bane or myself. We will make sure that we bring up your ideas.

All of our national virtual committees will be meeting over the next couple of weeks, so please make sure you watch Communities of Practice for updates and committee agendas.  If you have ideas or concerns, please forward them to our regional committee representatives so they can discuss them during the meetings.


Last but far from least, we need you to consider running for a regional office. In November, we will be selecting a new Region IV Vice President to a 3 year term. We will also be electing a new regional secretary to serve a one year term. Please consider putting your leadership skills to use on the national level. You can apply for these positions by submitting a Memorandum of Understanding which can be found on the NAAE Webpage, in the leadership handbook.


Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve you over the past three years. My service to the organization has been very rewarding. That is why I have decided to run for NAAE President-Elect in New Orleans, at the NAAE conference.  I would appreciate hearing your concerns and ideas. My email address is and my cell phone number is 573-881-3315. I would also appreciate your consideration of me as your next NAAE President-Elect.


If you have any questions or need anything, please do not hesitate to ask.


Thanks again for everything you do for every student who walks through your door.



School is out for the summer! 


As much as I love working with the students on daily basis, I love the change of pace summer offers. It is awesome to work with students in a different light over the summer.  SAE visits, local, county, and state fairs, FFA events, officer training -- the list goes on and on that fills my calendar. 

But my summers are not complete without a trip to the Region IV NAAE Leadership Conference.  This summer looks like a conference to remember! You will not want to miss it. 

The Conference begins on Tuesday, June 23 and runs through Friday, June 26, in Moline, IL.

The host hotel is the Radisson on the John Deere Commons     
1415 River Dr, Moline, IL 61265

The room rate is $114.00 nightly. Their website is 


You will find on the registration form you can select which parts of the program you want to register for. Come for all of the events or simply to the portions that interest you the most.

2015 NAAE Region IV Conference

June 23-26, 2015 Moline, Illinois

Tentative Schedule of Events

Tuesday, June 23  10:00-11:00    Registration- iWireless Center

11:00-12:00    Business Session #1- iWireless Center

12:00-1:00      Lunch- iWireless Center

1:00-2:00        Business Session #2- iWireless Center

2:00- 4:00      Professional Development Session- Illinois Ag in the Classroom- Kevin Daugherty- iWireless Center

4:00- 5:00      Break

5:00-6:00        Tour John Deere Pavillion & The John Deere Store

6:00-8:30        Dinner at Johnny's Metro: Cory Reed, John Deere- Guest Speaker

Entertainment - Guys in Ties

8:30-11:30      Hospitality Room at the Radisson

Bags Tournament


Wednesday, June 24 

6:00-7:00    Breakfast at Hotel

7:00-5:00    Professional Development Tour

Tour 1

7:20    Board bus for Harvester Works 

8:00-9:30    John Deere Harvester Works Tour 

10:00-11:00    Whitey's Ice Cream Production Plant Tour 

11:30-1:00    Lunch and Tour- Bush Farms 

2:00- 3:30    Monsanto Research Farm- Monmouth, IL 

4:30-5:30    Break 

Tour 2

7:40    Board bus for Whitey's Ice Cream

8:00-9:00    Whitey's Ice Cream Production Plant Tour 

10:00-11:30    John Deere Harvester Works Tour

12:00- 1:30    Lunch and Tour- Bush Farms

2:30- 4:00    Monsanto Research Farm

5:00-5:30    Break

5:30    Board bus for Botanical Center

6:00-8:00    Dinner and Speaker     

8:00-11:30  Hospitality Room at the Radisson

Bags Tournament


Thursday, June 25 

7:00- 8:00        Breakfast at Hotel 

8:00-11:00      Business Session #3- iWireless Center

11:00-12:00      Lunch- iWireless Center

12:00-1:00        Auction, Door Prizes, and Evaluations

1:00- 2:00        Farm to School Overview - National FFA Staff & National Farm to School Staff - iWireless Center

2:00 - 3:00      Farm to School & FFA - West Virginia FFA Staff - iWireless Center

3:00 - 3:30        Break

3:30 - 5:00      Developing Strong State & Local Partnerships - West Virginia FFA -iWireless Center

5:00                Dinner and Activity

Friday, June 26

7:00- 8:00        Breakfast at Hotel

8:00 - 9:00      Farm to School Best Practices ? National Farm to School Staff & West Virginia State Staff - iWireless Center

9:00 - 9:45      Farm to School Funding - National Farm to School Staff and National FFA- iWireless Center 

9:45 - 10:00      Break

10:00 - 11:30    Farm to School Planning - iWireless

11:30 - 12:15    Lunch - iWireless Center

12:15- 1:00      Moving Forward & Adjourn - National FFA Staff- iWireless Center

To register click here:

As you can see, you will not want to miss this great professional development opportunity. 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to let me know.  I can be reached at (573) 881-3315.

Thanks for everything you do for every student who walks through your door.

Scott Stone

Scott Stone

It's That Time of Year.

Posted by Scott Stone Mar 23, 2015

Greetings from Sunny Centralia, MO.

Spring has finally sprung and before we know it the final school bell of the year will ring.  The students will quickly escape to jobs, athletics practices, and some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

On the other hand, we will change the daily routine, but for many the pace will not slow.  We will spend hours helping students prepare for county fairs and expositions. We will help students perfect their recordbooks.  Some will even have the opportunity to take students to FFA camp.


Two of my favorite summer activities, as an agriculture instructor, are the Region IV NAAE Conference and the Missouri Vocational Agriculture Teachers' (MVATA) summer conference.  During both these events, I am humbled to watch many well-deserving agriculture teachers receive numerous awards for their dedication to their students and the profession.

One of the most memorable awards sessions I attended, was when my friend and mentor was awarded the MVATA Mentor of the Year award. Mr. Sayre is a teaching icon in the state of Missouri.  He is an individual who gives tirelessly of himself, so that agricultural education in the state of Missouri remains strong.  He was very humbled to find out that he was selected as the winner.  Even though he does not work for the awards, it was awesome to see him receive recognition for his efforts.

I think that you are deserving of an award as well. You have worked tirelessly and are very deserving of the recognition from your state and the National Association of Agricultural Educators.  So what is holding you back?  Please open a new tab on your computer and start filling out an award application.

By now, you will have noticed that the application process is a little different this year.  You will work on the application and save your documents like you have in the past, but instead of printing it out and mailing it, you will upload it on the NAAE website. Please make sure to check with your state awards committee to see how they want award applications to be submitted.

Now on to another of my favorite summer activities -- the Region IV NAAE Conference.  This year we will travel to the Land of Lincoln June 23rd - 25th. You can find more information at  You can also contact Mindy Bunselmeyer at 217-753-3328 or email her at


Thanks for everything you do for every student that walks through your door.

If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at 573-881-3315.



Scott Stone

Region IV NAAE Vice President

Scott Stone

Welcome to the New Year!!

Posted by Scott Stone Jan 20, 2015

Greetings from Centralia, MO!


I am Scott Stone, your Region IV NAAE Vice President and I am entering my third and final year in this position.  It truly has been an honor to serve the Region and this organization.  I have been teaching agriculture for 17 years in Centralia, MO.  My lovely wife, Jeannette, is a Special Education teacher.  We have three wonderful children: Zane who is 13, Annamarie who is 10, and Stetson who is five. We have a small farm where we raise sheep, goats, and chickens. In our spare time, we attend a lot of youth football, basketball, and baseball/softball games.


I am honored to have the opportunity to represent our region along with Parker Bane, who is our regional secretary.  Parker currently teaches agricultural education at Pontiac High School in Pontiac, IL.  Parker restarted this program in 2003, and it is currently the third largest program in Illinois.  Parker has served as the president of the Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers. Parker can be described as someone who has a record of dreaming big, thinking deeply, questioning often, and serving well.  Parker is a great asset for our region and represents each of you with a strong professional voice.


If Parker or I can be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact either one of us.  Parker's email address is  My email address is and my cell phone number is 573-881-3315.


As I mentioned earlier, this is my last year as the Region IV Vice President, so we will be looking for candidates to run this November in New Orleans.  We will also need candidates for Region IV Secretary.  Please consider running for this great opportunity.  You can find more information and the Memorandum of Understanding at Please consider Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words as you think about becoming more involved, "Everyone can be great because everyone can serve."


Last but far from least, I would encourage you to contact the Illinois Agriculture Teachers' Association to find all the information about our Region IV summer conference, which will be held June 23rd -- 25th in beautiful Moline, IL.  You can register by going to, and clicking on the link to the Region IV Conference.  If you have any questions, you can call Mindy Bunselmeyer at 217-753-3328 or email her at


Thanks for everything you do for each student who walks through your door.



Scott Stone

Region IV Vice President


Scott Stone

Thankful for Convention!

Posted by Scott Stone Sep 21, 2014

School is officially off and running, and it is flying by, if I do say so myself.


The nights are getting cooler and the corn is drying down.  The beans are starting to show signs of turning brown and I saw a rainbow of leaves floating by as I took an early morning bike ride today.

This changing of the seasons brings joy to many folks for lots of different reasons.  For some it is to finally be through the dog days of summer, for others it is the impending harvest, and for our students it is the joy of coming back to school and working on homework!


For me though, it is the thought of Thanksgiving dinner and the NAAE Convention.  I love attending our national professional meeting almost as much as I love homemade turkey, mashed potatoes, and all the trimmings. Now just like Thanksgiving meals, some NAAE Conventions stand out a little more than others in my mind.

My first convention was to be in New Orleans but they had a small storm which changed everyone's plan.  So instead I got to drive the 150 miles to Kansas City, MO.  Once there, I was met by a blizzard that trapped many of us in the hotel.  On the bright side, attendance at the workshop sessions was at an all time high. 


Another memorable convention was in Las Vegas.  This sheltered country boy was in for a shock, because of the beautiful landscape of course.  And I will never forget the amazing buffet that Mrs. PJ Simon, with DuPont, took the Agriscience Ambassadors to.


I will never forget the year that five of us loaded in the car and headed for Charlotte, NC.  The trip was L O N G, but the ideas and information that was shared on the trip was amazing. To this day, I still use some of the ideas in my classroom that were shared on the ride out and back.


This year I am very excited to head to Nashville, although I will not be singing like I did in Atlanta. The convention will offer participants numerous opportunities to grow as individuals and professionals.  The workshop line-up is sure to offer something for everyone.  The award winners will inspire each of us to reach for excellence in our own programs. The general sessions will provide an opportunity for each of us to make our voices heard in determining the future of our organization.


So whether you will arrive by plane, train, or automobile, I hope to see you in Nashville. Just like I am always thankful that I do not miss Thanksgiving dinner, you will be thankful you joined us for this amazing opportunity.


I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve you -- the members of NAAE who are in the trenches working each day -- and for making our organization what it is.  I want to say thank you for all you do to make not only your program, but agricultural education what it is today. 


Scott Stone

Region IV NAAE Vice President

Scott Stone

Which 1 R U?

Posted by Scott Stone Jul 16, 2014

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." -John Quincy Adams

When I stand in class and announce that FFA officer applications are due in two weeks I usually have three types of students.

      1.  Those who have already started the application.

      2.  Those who want to fill out an application, but need that extra push.

      3. Those who show no interest at all. 

So ladies and gentlemen, Memorandums of Understanding to run for NAAE offices or to become a committee member are due September 15 to the NAAE office!

Which one of the three are you? 

I hope you are like #1 and have already began the conversation with your school administration about your ability to serve in a leadership position.  Our organization, whether on the national, state, or district level needs you to remain strong. 

If you are like #2, then I am here to tell you that we need you and your skills to make the future of agricultural education strong.  I know you might not feel qualified or that you do not have enough time; but, I would ask, if not you, then who and if not now, when?

If you are like #3, then I would like to have a conversation about what is holding you back.  What barriers do we need to tear down in order to make running for these leadership positions more appealing?  How do we better prepare our members so that they feel empowered to step up to the plate and say yes?

Please consider running for a regional leadership position, a national committee member, or a position within your state association. On the national level, you must fill out a memorandum of understanding which can be found in the leadership handbook at .These are due by September 15th to the NAAE office.  I hope to see your name on the ballot!

On a Regional level, I would like thank the Kentucky Association of Agricultural Educators for a great Region 4 Summer Leadership Conference.  You folks were excellent hosts.  I would ask that you mark your calendars for the 2015 conference to be held in Moline, IL June 23rd -25th.  I hope to see all of you in Nashville for our National Convention November 18th-22nd. You can find all the information you need at:

I hope each of you have had a fabulous summer. I wish you the best as you start the new school year, which is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of each student who walks through your door.

Scott Stone

Region IV is coming!!!

Posted by Scott Stone May 27, 2014

School is out for the summer!


As much as I love working with the students on daily basis, I love the change of pace summer offers. It is awesome to work with the students in a different light over the summer.  SAE visits, local, county, and state fairs, FFA events, officer training and the list goes on and on, that fills my calendar.


Summer is also a time for me to rejuvenate and grow as a professional.  Attending our state Ag Teachers' Conference is one of my summer musts.  The conference allows me to reconnect with fellow teachers, attend professional development workshops and sessions, and just as important, helps to direct the work of the association while setting the course for the future of the organization. I would highly encourage you to take an active role in your summer conference.


When I was on the MO Vocational Agriculture Teachers' Association State Executive Committee, they told me that I had to attend another conference.  My first thought was "oh no, not another trip and more days out of my summer."  But I registered and packed my bags to attend the Region IV NAAE Conference in Nappanee, IN at Amish Acres.  I had a chance to work with some of our best agriculture teachers in this country. The tours of the chocolate factory and Notre Dame were amazing.  I was so excited at the conclusion of the conference, I asked how I could register for next year's conference.  This all happened because I said "yes" when someone asked me to fill a leadership role. I would encourage you to put your talents to use in leading your state and national agriculture teachers' organization.


Several years later, I again have the pleasure of attending the Region IV Conference this summer.  I am looking forward to seeing the beautiful horse country in Lexington, KY June 24-26th.  Just like our individual state conferences, we will have the opportunity to reconnect with agriculture teachers from across our region. These are the same teachers that I now email or text when I need help with a lesson or have questions about award applications.  The Region IV Teachers have become a backbone of support for me. This year, we hope to have some extra professional development, since most of the award judging will be done ahead of time.  If there is something you feel like we all need, please let me know so we can meet your needs. The tours look awesome! I have been studying the list to see which bus I need to board.  I want a selfie with a Kentucky Derby winner.  My students will be so jealous!  Most importantly, we will work to continue to identify issues and opportunities that our organization must address, if we are to stay relevant in a fast changing world. And I would be remiss if I did not mention the turtle ceremony which will occur.  That is all I can say, just stay tuned for more information at the conference.


I have to admit, my bags are not packed yet, but If I did not need those clothes over the next couple of weeks, they would be.  I am excited to head down south to Lexington and I hope to see you there.


If there is anything that I can help you with please let me know.  My phone number is 573-881-3315.


I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for all you do for every student who walks through your classroom door.



Greetings from central  MO.  It is still cold and we had snow again yesterday. I feel like winter just keeps hanging around.  It will not be long till the sweat will be dripping and I will just want it to cool down. It seems like I am never satisfied with the weather.

It is my desire that you are like me in the fact that you are never satisfied with the status quo. I hope you are not worrying about the weather, but instead about the quality of your agriculture program, your state agriculture teachers association, the National Association of Agriculture Education, or just how education is heading in general.

Unfortunately, I have no control over the weather unless I visit another part of the country that has the weather I desire.  Unlike me though, you have the power to change and make things happen.  I am not saying it will be easy, but I am saying you have the power to make those changes.  I have also learned firsthand that making those changes is easier if we band together.  There is power in numbers!

Now this winter I wanted to go find a nice warm beach and bury my toes in the sand.  This still would not change the fact that is was 13 degrees back home and I would have to go back to reality at some point.  Like me, we try to burry ourselves in the sand when the situations arise that are not fun to deal with or that seem insurmountable. It still does not change the reality that we have issues that we need to address and fix.  It will not make them go away; it just tends to make them worse. Then warming back up from the cold becomes even harder.

One of the things I love to do on my snow days is call to catch up with friends and build those relationships.  Sadly enough, many of my friends are not teachers, and they had to go to work.  So I miss the opportunity.  I hope you can learn from me that it is not a good idea to wait till the storm hits to build the relationships.  Instead I beg of you to work daily to build those relationships with stakeholders that can help you avert the impending storm.  YOU are the one that must advocate for the change in your agriculture program, your state agriculture teachers association, the National Association of Agriculture Education, or just how education is heading in general.  Please pick up the phone now and call.

Now where I come from in MO, we have lots of gravel roads.  They are always the last ones to be plowed, unless you live close to someone who is important and well known.  In that case, the plow is there in a jiffy.  In these days and political times, we can't afford to not be well known to the community we work in or to the politicians who serve our areas.  If we fail to build those connections we could be waiting for days or even weeks for the plow truck to get us out.

I hope if you were stuck inside waiting to get plowed out that you have taken the opportunity to register for our Region IV Summer Leadership Conference to be held June 24th -26th.   We will be hosted by the warm southern hospitality of the Kentucky agriculture teachers in beautiful Lexington.  If you have not reserved your room make sure to do so by May 25th. The hotel phone number is (859) 455-5000.  You can find all the information at


In closing, I pray for warmer weather for all of us.  But if it does not come, I hope you have made preparations that will stand up to the storms that will come at some point in time.


Thanks for everything you do for every student that walks through your door.


If I can be of assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at 573-881-3315.


Scott Stone

Region IV NAAE Vice President