Andrea Fristoe

Agricultural Education for ALL -- Dr. Veronica Sanders

Blog Post created by Andrea Fristoe on Dec 15, 2020

Agricultural Education for All is a joint partnership of the National Association of Agricultural Educators and the National FFA Organization with the goal of ensuring all in agricultural education feel welcome, safe and celebrated as their authentic selves. Every month in New Teacher News and Teach Ag Times, we will feature some of the outstanding teachers making a difference and creating inclusive, diverse and equitable programs for their students. For more information about Agricultural Education for All, please contact Ellen Thompson.



This month, we would like to introduce you to Dr. Veronica Sanders, agriculture teacher at Warner Robins High School, in Warner Robins, Georgia. Dr. Sanders plays a vital role in the progress agricultural education continues to make in the areas of inclusion, diversity and equity. Growing up on a farm raising small livestock, Dr. Veronica Sanders never imagined herself teaching agriculture. However, she decided to do so 27 years ago. In 1994, Veronica was the only African American female teaching middle school ag classes in Georgia.


"My passion for my students far outweighs all of the opposition that I have faced throughout my career. I am grateful that I did not give up in the face of adversity. This is an exciting time in agriculture to shape and mold the youth. There have been many significant changes since I started teaching, and I'm grateful to be around still to see them." -- Dr. Veronica Sanders



Who/what inspired you to be an ag teacher? My parents, Derrick Jones, and Dr. Borne, inspired me to teach.


What motivates you to continue to teach ag? I enjoy making a difference in the lives of my students. It's great to make an impact and change their mindset. I believe once you gain knowledge and wisdom, everything can change.


What advice do you have for new teachers to create an inclusive and safe environment for your students to be their true, authentic selves? My advice to new teachers would be to BE YOURSELF!!!! There are too many people in the world that are carbon copies. Why be a copy when you can be an original? You can never indeed be great until you can be your authentic self. Those that love you will love you regardless. Be honest about the fact that you are a work in progress. Let students know that you're striving for perfection every day, and you will be for the remainder of your life. Students feel safe when they are around honest teachers. Celebrate their differences and be mindful of the music and videos that you play in class. Please make sure the videos celebrate all students to be great no matter their level. Encourage all students to participate and not just high achievers.


What advice do you have for new teachers about being their true and authentic selves in the classroom? Why is that so important? Just as you should always be your authentic self, you are responsible for molding and shaping the minds of our youth. Being your true authentic self is essential and always uphold professional standards and ethics.


What is your advice to the ag ed profession to make ag ed a welcoming place for everyone? My advice would be to include all students, celebrate everyone, and be kind and courteous. Pray, laugh, eat jerky, and drink diet coke. Repeat every day.