Andrea Fristoe

NAAE President-Elect: Meet the Candidates -- James Cannon

Blog Post created by Andrea Fristoe on Oct 19, 2015



James Cannon

I grew up in Arkansas and attended agricultural classes at Lake Hamilton High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The way in which my high school agriculture teacher taught about agricultuer and FFA made me want to be an ag teacher when I went to college. I attended Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas and received my B.S.E. in Agricultural Education. I was the first graduate under the Ag-Ed program at SAU and am proud to represent the university in all activities. SAU was a small college, so it gave all students the opportunity to work in all areas and give a person a well-rounded view of agriculture.

I have been married to my wife, Sheila for 32 years. My wife is a piano teacher and plays the organ in church. We have one son, Logan, who just this fall started college at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas. He is majoring in Business Data Analytics.

In 1981, I started my teaching career at Prescott High School in southwest Arkansas. I am a single-teacher in the department, therefore, I have total control of the success (or failure) of my program. I have been at Prescott for my whole career and have accomplished many goals. My students have had opportunities to accomplish many of their goals, as well, and to go many places that they would never have had the chance to go because of our ag program. All my students are also FFA members because FFA is an intracurricular part of the program and I believe all students should have the opportunities to participate in those parts of the program.  


Advocacy - The success of our ag programs rely on our ability to tell our story to an audience that has become disconnected. Most people do not understand the importance of agriculture in their daily lives. We need to develop an advocacy agenda that provides a consistent message from our home communities all the way to the nation's capitol. It is our responsibility to contact these individuals and to tell our story so that they will see how important our programs are to the education in our states as well as the nation.


NAAE works hand-in-hand with the ACTE organization, through their National Policy Seminar each year in Washington D.C. This gives us a yearly opportunity to visit with our legislators at the national level and advocate for our programs.

Agricultural education is, as we all know, a grassroots effort that has to be established at the local level -- from there we can move forward and educate our lawmakers on what we need.


Recruitment and Retention - By providing diverse activities for our students to participate in, we help them find a place to fit in and help them become successful. Yes, our jobs are time consuming and sometimes can become overwhelming, but the end result is very much worthwhile.


The shortage of agriculture teachers will only increase as years come and go. Through the Teach Ag Campaign and other avenues, we need to reach out to potential prospects and show them what being an ag teacher do for them. Also, as ag teachers, we need to reach out to our young teachers in the profession and help them manage their time and programs. Mentoring a new teacher or a young teacher in the profession will keep us excited about our job as well.


Educational Philosophy - I believe in what I do and will do it to the best of my ability. I am first an ag teacher and then a FFA advisor. I see many programs today in our schools that are the opposite of this. All students are entitled to education about agriculture and then the opportunity to participate in FFA activities.


My school is in a rural area and my students need an education in how to repair things around the house and to be taught employability skills. These are things they receive in the agriculture classroom. There is also the opportunity for our students to explore the rest of the world through our FFA programs. Many of my students have not been more than 100 miles from their homes in their lifetime. Through FFA and the activities provided they will have the chance to go places and meet people that will give them an opportunity to succeed. State conventions, Career Development Events, leadership camps, officer retreats, and many other activities give our students a chance to compete and make friends from all over the state and nation.


In closing, I ask for your consideration for President-Elect. I will represent this organization to the best of my ability and provide a strong voice for the future of our organization. Thank you for your time and best of luck in your agriculture and FFA activities this year.

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