Biography: Greetings NAAE Members. It would be an honor to serve the NAAE as your next president-elect. I teach at Cherokee High School in Cherokee, AL. I am currently in my fifteenth year of teaching agriculture. I teach agriculture exploration, fundamentals of agriscience, agricultural construction, horticulture, and ag mechanics. I served six years as the Region V Secretary and Region V Vice President. I am married and have an 11 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, AL area, in a community called Greenhill. My family and I currently live in Iuka, MS which is just across the state line from where I teach in Cherokee. I am very thankful for the mentors that have helped me during my 15 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 for 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 during our normal daily duties as agriculture teachers, we find those that can someday fill our shoes in the profession, so that this profession obtains highly-qualified and trained agriculture teachers. I encourage every ag teacher to participate in National Teach Ag Day -- let's talk about what we love! If you have been teaching over 10 years, then it is likely that you will try to 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 a potential 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? As agriculture teachers, along with all other career technical educators, we face a daily battle of having to fight for our programs locally, state-wide, and nationally. Sometimes you have to fight for what is yours! Agricultural education is ours! So 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 called 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 be advocating to our students as much as possible. We can do this by talking to them about ag education and other agricultural careers. I would also like to encourage all of our NAAE members to advocate for the profession as a whole. Talk the talk of agricultural education to your members of Congress, so they can see the importance of funding what we do as agricultural educators.
Agricultural Education: When an ag teacher is talking with someone in the community and they ask "what is it you do?," the answer is typically, "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 agriculture 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 successes, but the classroom and SAE successes as well. 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 ag curriculum, whether it is agriscience in the classroom, or agricultural mechanics in the shop. For the continuing success of our programs and the impact we make on our students, it is important that we try to incorporate these into the classroom. I believe it will be even more important for us to have strong partnerships with teacher education institutions such as ACTE, National FFA Alumni, National FFA, the department of education in each state, and other agriculture organizations.
A Message from our Partners: