I teach at Cherokee High School in Cherokee, Alabama. I am currently in my fourteenth year of teaching agriculture. I teach agriculture exploration, fundamentals of agriscience, agricultural construction and welding. I am married and have a 10-year-old son. My wife's name is Tanya and my son's name is Tyson. I grew up on a family farm in the Florence, Alabama area, in the Greenhill community. My family and I currently live in Iuka, Mississippi, which is just across the state line from where I teach in Cherokee. I am very thankful for the mentors that have contributed to my teaching profession during my 14 years of teaching. During my first year of teaching, I joined NAAE and have become more involved each year. As I look back over my career as an agriculture teacher, I can see how this organization has given me a great perspective of our profession.
Recruitment and Retention: We do what we love and we love what we do! I love my job and I am sure everyone else in this profession does as well. It is very important that we, during our normal daily duties as an agriculture teachers, find those that we can see someday filling the shoes of our profession. The number one reason is so that this profession obtains highly qualified, trained agriculture teachers. I encourage every ag teacher to participate in National Teach Ag Day. Let's talk about what we love! There little doubt in my mind that if you have been teaching over 10 years you will not try and hang around for at least 15 more. It is hard enough to fill the open slots as it is, we do not need to add to this deficit. The XLR8 award program is a great way to add a little more fuel to a dwindling fire in education. It is important that we use our resources in education. Go out today and find an ag teacher! #teachag
Advocacy: We never know what each day may bring, so we need to be prepared the best way we can. As for our profession, how do we become more prepared to handle different circumstances? I'm not talking about how to handle the unpredictable weather. It's the daily battle that we, as educators, have to fight for our programs locally, statewide and nationally. Sometimes you have to fight for what is yours! Agricultural education is ours! How do we fight? Through advocacy! First of all, advocacy must begin locally. As proud educators, we like to talk about our programs, hear our students talk to other students about our programs, and hear the community talk about our programs. All of this talking is advocacy! We have to make sure, for the most part, that we advocate for ourselves and not expect someone else to do it for us. To promote our profession, we definitely need to advocate to our students as much as possible. We can do this by talking to them about agricultural education and other agricultural careers. As for our profession, I would like to encourage all of our NAAE members to advocate for agricultural education, as a whole. Talk the talk of agricultural education to your members of Congress, so they can see the importance of funding and what we do as agriculture teachers.
Agricultural Education : When an agriculture teacher talks with someone in the community and they ask "what is it you do?," we answer by saying, "I am the ag teacher at the school." Then someone immediately follows with "Oh I see where your kids have done this, or are doing that and they have been winning a lot of FFA awards!" There is no doubt that agricultural education and FFA have a positive impact on the community. If there are service projects to do, our programs are usually part of them. Our students' success is provided through our teaching and our leadership. As agricultural educators, we need to focus on the profession as a whole, not just the FFA success, but also the classroom and SAE success. We need to make our programs as rigorous and relevant as possible. We need to always identify ways of incorporating STEM into our agriculture lessons, so we can maintain high levels of academic standards. This is important in every agriculture curriculum, whether it is agriscience in the "classroom' setting or agricultural mechanics in the "shop" setting.
I ask for your consideration for the office of President Elect. I will represent this organization well and provide a strong voice in the decisions affecting OUR agricultural educational programs.