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Take the Ordinary and Make It Exceptional!
From the President

Charlie Sappington, NAAE President
It has been said, "Take the ordinary and make it exceptional." I believe that is what most ag educators do every day in their classrooms. A fellow educator once told me we need to make those "Ah-Ha" moments more common, instead of the every day routine lessons.



2015 NAAE Award Winners Announced!

Congratulations to this year's award winners. Agriculture teachers continue to amaze us each and every year. See you in New Orleans!

Click here to view all award winners.



National Teach Ag Day

Get ready to celebrate National Teach Ag Day on September 24th, 2015! From collegiate opportunities to classroom ideas, we hope you are as excited as we are to celebrate the positive impact agriculture teachers make on the world every day!

Click here for ideas about celebrating Teach Ag Day in your classroom.

Meet the 2015-2016 Teach Ag Ambassadors!

The ambassadors have been selected and are ready to get started at National FFA Convention in October! Click here to meet this year's ambassadors.



Collegiate Opportunities on Teach Ag Day

Looking for ways to celebrate at the collegiate level? Follow this link to find out how you can participate in our live webcast!

Submit your Picture to be Featured on Teach Ag Day

Are you a future or current agriculture teacher? Send in your photo to be featured during the live webcast! Click here for more information.

STAR State Update

Welcome Montana! Our newest STAR State is signed on for the year and ready to get started addressing its agriculture teacher recruitment and retention challenges.

Click here for more information about our STAR program.



National Teach Ag Day Webcast

Looking for ways to celebrate at the collegiate level? Follow this link to find out how you can participate in our live webcast!

The National Teach Ag Day  webcast will stream live from 1:45-4:00pm ET on Thursday, September 24th. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks available on the Teach Ag website!

Thank You National Teach Ag Campaign Sponsors!

Together, the CHS Foundation, DuPont Pioneer, and Growth Energy help make the National Teach Ag Campaign possible. Click here to read more about our wonderful sponsors!

Subscribe to Teach Ag Times and New Teacher News!




Teacher Spotlight: Innovation and Solid Marketing Fosters Success

Eric Tilleman
Cascade High School, Cascade, MT

2014 NAAE Region I Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient

Program growth and student success is something all agriculture teachers work toward. Each day we go in to our classrooms with ideas of how to make our curriculum more effective and increase student participation in FFA, Career Development Events and Supervised Agricultural Experiences. We look for new and innovative ideas that will help our programs thrive.




Program Updates



Teach Ag

Teach Ag Intern Insights: A Teach Ag Summer

Alan Green
National Teach Ag Campaign Intern

A transplant from Michigan State University, I’ve spent the summer in Lexington, Kentucky learning more about the need for agriculture teachers, as well as working on various projects for the campaign.








CASE Online -- A Paperless Approach to Enhancing the Rigor of Agricultural Education

As the demand rises for current, innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum, the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education continues to advance the rigor, course offerings, and accessibility of its curriculum for agriculture teachers.




Washington Beat

August 2015

The 2015 federal fiscal year is coming to a close. Read about congressional appropriations, the Every Child Achieves Act, and the Career and Technical Education Presidential Scholars program.



Ideas Unlimited: Agricultural Engineering Through Legos

Derek Ritenour
Peter Muhlenberg Middle School, Woodstock, Virginia

2014 Region VI Ideas Unlimited Award Winner

Every day, teachers and administrators are looking for new ways to incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math into the curriculum presented to students. For Derek Ritenour, agriculture teacher at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School, in Woodstock, Virginia, STEM is literally “built” into his curriculum.


NAAE Convention

Join us in New Orleans for the 2015 NAAE Convention!

Registration: Follow this link to receive NAAE member pricing for both NAAE Convention and ACTE CareerTech Vision 2015. You can only get the NAAE rate through this form, so register through our website, not by going directly to ACTE.

Housing & Travel: The 2015 NAAE Convention will be held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Click here for more information about booking your stay, along with some tips about travel and parking in New Orleans.

Don't forget: If you are a 2015 NAAE Award Winner, you must submit your paperwork to Katie Wood by August 25th.

Need to Know



NAAE Resource: Professional Liability Insurance

NAAE members receive $100,000 professional liability insurance coverage. Members can upgrade their policy to include job protection benefits as well. Click herefor more information.

Teach Like a Pirate

This summer, over 60 agriculture teachers from across the United States participated in the NAAE Virtual Book club. This year, the selected read was Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.




Award Program of the Month -- Outstanding Service Citation

NAAE recognizes current and retired NAAE members who have made significant contributions to agricultural education at the state, regional and national levels. From helping programs receive science endorsements to serving as Dean of Agriculture, these members have truly gone above and beyond their call of duty.




2015 Summer Advocacy Update

It has been my privilege to serve the profession as the 2015 NAAE Advocacy Intern.  This summer, I have worked tirelessly with the offices of our elected officials to educate their staff and bolster support for school-based agricultural education.


NAAE Summer Board Meeting

The NAAE Board of Directors met in Lexington, KY at the NAAE Office for their summer board meeting July 8-9.



Connect With Us



Must Follow Ag Teacher

Kurt VanDeWalle
Fillmore Central High School, Nebraska

Why Kurt?
Besides being an awesome agriculture teacher, Kurt is also an integral part of the ag ed profession. Currently serving as a member of the Teach Ag Advisory Board, Kurt shows his passion for ag education beyond the classroom.


Follow Kurt on:



Communities of Practice

A Day in the Life of an Ag Teacher is a series of blog posts from current agriculture teachers about their journeys through the profession. Check out some of this year's highlights so far!

Get Social

Follow NAAE on Facebook and Twitter  for the latest updates, news & information about the profession!



Chime In: How will you Celebrate National Teach Ag Day?

National Teach Ag Day is only a few short weeks away! How will you be celebrating this year?

Click here to Chime In & let us know!

NAAE Convention on Pinterest!

Thinking about heading to New Orleans with us this fall? Check out some things you never knew about New Orleans on our Pinterest board! We will be adding more pins from now until November, so make sure to follow NAAE on Pinterest!

Before You Go



National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy

This summer, 48 outstanding agriculture teachers were selected to participate in the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy (NATAA).



Are you a mid-career agriculture teacher looking for a new and exciting professional development opportunity?

Applications are now open to participate in the 2015 XLR8 program.


Work/Life Balance Goes to Pennsylvania Ag Teachers

This summer, the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators (PAAE) dedicated time, as part of their summer professional development conference, to emphasize the importance of work/life balance as part of the first ever PA XLR8 professional development program.




Submit a MOU to run for NAAE Office or Serve on a Committee

Planning to run for regional secretary or  vice president? Your Memorandum of Understanding is due by September 15th!


All NAAE Committee Members should have a MOU on file that can be submitted at any time for chair and vice-chair positions.


Ford Grant Challenge Recipients Announced

The Ford Grant Challenge awards one FFA chapter in each of NAAE's six regions with a $3,000 grant to buy needed materials, offset travel expenses, and supplement resources that will support and enhance their leadership development activities.




NAAE Professional State Awards Due September 1st!

NAAE will recognize state associations who have aggressively engaged in certain well-planned activities designed to serve the best interest of the members and the profession.



Barnes & Noble Eduator's Discount
Get 20% off list price purchases used for the classroom and up to and up to 25% off during Educator Appreciation Days.



Check out NAAE's Calendar for all upcoming events!



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National Teach Ag Day is only a few short weeks away! How will you be celebrating this year?

We want to hear your thoughts! Comment below as a part of our Chime In Series in News & Views!

It has been said, "Take the ordinary and make it exceptional." I believe that is what most ag educators do every day in their classrooms. A fellow educator once told me we need to make those "Ah-Ha" moments more common, instead of the every day routine lessons. How can we do this and make our programs -- where learning has application to the real world with relevance and rigor -- transparent to the rest of the world?  What must we do, is draw in exceptional individuals to teach in our classrooms, and keep them there as they inspire our youth to take the lead in facing the challenges to agriculture in the future.


What is causing our teachers to leave after only a few years of teaching?  What obstacles do young teachers face? What can we do to better prepare those teachers for the challenges ahead? The frustrations of all teachers, agriculture or otherwise, are many. Some young teachers do not find success in their classrooms that other teachers have due to poor preparation and organization; while others do not have the passion, professionalism, and drive to be an agriculture teacher. I think we can agree that it takes a special breed of individual, who is willing to make the sacrifices required, to build and maintain a strong program. In the receiving line of an agriculture teacher's wedding, my wife will jokingly said, "Welcome to the FFA Advisors Widow's Club!" This statement was said to her after we were married 28 years ago. Yes, it was said in jest, but it does have some merit into the commitment that ag educators make to their students.

Why do teachers who have taught for so many years and are still teaching, profess that they would do nothing else?  I fall into that category. As I look back and ask myself that question, I look at the mentoring I had from more experienced teachers and the improvements I have made to my curriculum through the continuous professional development offered in our field. In discussions with agriculture teacher educators at our colleges and universities, I am thrilled that they are working not to just turn out teachers, but are preparing individuals who realize that learning should have application to the real world and its relevance should be transparent -- in no other course of study is this more attainable than in agricultural education. Some institutions are looking at incorporating the CASE model into their instruction, so that teachers have the opportunity to use a "turn key" curriculum. In this aspect, we can act as facilitators and give our students the organization and guidance towards the relevance, rigor, and retention they cannot attain as readily as they do in our agriculture programs.

In summary, there are no easy answers. Thanks to professionals in the ag education institutions, strong teachers in our profession, and outstanding initiatives like the Teach Ag Campaign, we are addressing the challenges of recruitment and retention of agricultural educators. I think everyone would agree that not everyone is made for the ag education profession. However, if we can identify young individuals while they are in high school, encourage and guide them to our profession, together we can fill our profession with passionate and dedicated teachers.

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