Hello NAAE members. I enjoyed seeing old friends at national conference. It is always the best part of attending regional and national conferences. My NAAE friends are quick to help out when needed, but also will put me in my place when needed. I want to thank the NAAE board, staff, interns, and members for their efforts that made the conference run smoothly. I heard plenty of positive comments and a few suggestions to make it even better in the future. It takes input from all stakeholders to improve what we offer during the conference. I would ask that you thank those sponsors for their support of agricultural education. The NAAE board is always receiving feedback from those sponsors and is amazed at how many comments they make about the thank you notes they receive.
I have a few goals for my year of leadership. The most important goal is to advocate for agricultural education. To do this, I need you to open the doors you know and have your local and state leader's attention. I can take the message of agricultural education and the NAAE to the national stage but it is not as well received without your input. It will take all of our efforts to have an effective advocacy agenda. Goal two: Continue our efforts to align the NAAE's efforts with the new strategic plan. The strategic plan outlines ways to enhance membership benefits, promote agriculture education, and develop better relationships with other agricultural education organizations. Goal three: Gather feedback from membership on the board and committee restructure proposal. I believe that the NAAE can become an even greater voice for agricultural education if we have a broader representation from all agricultural education stakeholders. The NAAE standing committees have a major role in implementing the new strategic plan. This will require more time than just a few meetings a year. I know you will give serious thought to both proposals.
As I write this, president-elect Charlie Sappington and I will be attending the National FFA stakeholder meeting and the National Agricultural Education summit at the end of January. It is our charge to represent agricultural educators in both of those arenas. National FFA and NAAE have a great partnership, but must continue to work collaboratively for agricultural education and FFA to achieve our common goals. Recruiting and keeping agriculture teachers, growing and adding quality agricultural education programs, and recognizing student achievement must be a priority . This will in turn grow the National FFA organization and agricultural education. Supervised agriculture experience programs will be the topic at the summit. Defining SAE's to reflect on their true value to agriculture education programs and students will be the major task.
National Policy Seminar is the first week in March. I encourage states to send a representative to help us advocate for agricultural education in Washington D. C.