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This is an article from the April 2017 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


trophy.jpgWe’ve all seen it. We’ve read it. We know it’s there.


NAAE maintains an extensive awards program to recognize the accomplishments of our many talented and dedicated members. We have awards for agricultural educators in every stage of their careers, from scholarships to lifetime achievement.


As we are helping our students prepare for Career Development Events, filling out Proficiency award applications, writing letters of recommendation, completing degree and various other award and scholarship applications, along with a laundry list of a million other things we have to do before the end of the school year; it can be hard to find time to even think about our accomplishments as agriculture teachers. Pretty ironic, huh?


Now is the time to let your light shine – showcase your hard work by filling out a NAAE award application.


Darla Romberger, agriculture teacher at Cumberland Valley High School, in Mechanicsburg, Pa., was the Region VI Outstanding Young Member award recipient in 2016 and feels that receiving a NAAE award is a great opportunity to highlight her early career achievements.


“Receiving this award was a nice recognition of what I had accomplished in my first four years as an agriculture teacher,” said Romberger. “It was great to be recognized by others for what I have accomplished so far.”


No matter where you are in your teaching career, NAAE has an award program that recognizes your numerous achievements. From the Teachers Turn the Key Scholarship award program, to our Lifetime Achievement and Teacher Mentor awards, we want to recognize YOU for the difference you are making in your students’ lives, in your communities, and in the agricultural education profession.


For Chris Martin, agriculture teacher at Columbia Central High School, in Columbia, Tenn., being a part of the 2016 Teachers Turn the Key Scholarship award program helped elevate his confidence as an agriculture teacher.


“It was really great to be around other agriculture teachers who are in the same stage of their careers as me,” said Martin. “It helped me to realize I am not alone and gave me the boost I need at this point in my career.”


NAAE award applications are due by May 15th – but time is of the essence! Make sure you are working on your application now, so you aren’t burning the midnight oil.


“If you are being nominated by fellow agriculture teachers, it means something special,” said Melinda Tague, agriculture teacher at Norman High School, in Norman, Okla., and 2016 NAAE Region II Teacher Mentor and Ideas Unlimited award recipient. “Even when it means you have to fill out another application, it is so worth it.”


NAAE award recipients are recognized at our annual convention, which is in Nashville, Tenn. this year. In addition to the recognition, you are able to attend a variety of specialized professional development workshops at the convention to help revitalize your career and classroom – an awesome added benefit of being a NAAE award recipient!


So what are you waiting for? Ok, yes finding the time between everything mentioned above and your own personal life, but don’t forget! Make sure you carve out a couple of hours between now and May 15th to recognize yourself! As ag teachers, it is hard to brag on yourself – you want to stay humble and that is a wonderful quality to have, but now is your time to SHINE! Be a star in Nashville!


For more information about the NAAE Awards Program, follow this link.


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This is an article from the April 2017 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


tulare1.jpgMaybe ag teachers aren’t experts in everything, but we are experts in finding the right people at the right time to help our students and our programs grow.


We know community partnerships are a vital part of sustaining our agriculture programs. Even with seven full-time agriculture teachers, like at Tulare High School, in Tulare, Calif., keeping the agriculture program directly connected with the community is crucial for program growth and success. Those community contacts are one way we can provide our students with the expert information in which they are interested.


It is in large part thanks to strong community partnerships that the Tulare High School agriculture program was named the 2016 NAAE Region I Outstanding Middle/Secondary Program. With nearly 700 students enrolled in agriculture classes, Tulare prides itself in reaching out and finding experts in agriculture to take their students’ learning to the next level.


“Between our working dairy facility and 78 acres of corn and alfalfa, our students work with experts in the field every single day,” said Shay Williams-Hopper, one of the agriculture teachers at Tulare. “Students interact with veterinarians, milkers, breeders, herdsmen and farmers on a daily basis as they learn both in and out of the classroom.”

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There are a multitude of opportunities available for the Tulare agriculture students to interact with agricultural experts outside of the classroom as well. Students in floral design are able to visit local floral shops and complete job shadowing as part of their experiential learning. Those enrolled in veterinary science meet with local animal care providers to learn about the animal care industry. Tulare also has 40 students who are enrolled in a work experience class and gain hands-on experiences through interactions with their employers and co-workers.


Tulare also partners with a local community college and the University of California-Davis to provide its students with agricultural experiences not available at the school, in addition to working with the veterinarians from UC-Davis to pregnancy check the program’s dairy herd twice a month.


“We know that students learn best when they have the opportunity to do,” added Williams-Hopper. “Through these partnerships, our students are able to work with other animals, since we only have dairy cattle at our school.”



The students at Tulare are also able to talk with experts about potential careers in agriculture, which keeps them interested and engaged. Students are encouraged to pursue postsecondary education and training in agricultural fields, based on the interests they have developed while in high school.


“The students like looking into potential ag careers for after high school,” said Williams-Hopper. “They get to see what their options are. We’ve seen our students change their career paths because of their experiences in the program.”


Want to learn more about the Tulare agriculture program’s award or to see the other 2016 Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education Program award winners? Follow this link. The 2016 Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agricultural Education program award was sponsored by AGCO and Monsanto as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.






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This is an article from the April 2017 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


Cowboy Logic: “Don’t go where the path may lead;

go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”


Les Linegar was an ag teacher -- one the best I have ever seen! My earliest memories of Les was when I was a state FFA officer, and was leading a leadership camp in his district. In my yearning to motivate students, I had said some things that could be taken as less-than-satisfactory and Les let me know the errors of my ways. From that time on, I kind of tip-toed around Mr. Linegar, but when I finished my student-teaching and became an ag teacher, I found out that he was a tremendous mentor and an advocate for me.


Les had an outstanding program. It was well-rounded with equal parts of classroom, experiential learning, and leadership. Les was old-school, right down to his haircut.  He had an active advisory committee, a proactive FFA Alumni, and huge community support. When I started teaching, he was one of the "Old Dogs" that young teachers looked up to and admired, but he always did it quietly and in an unassuming way. Interesting enough Mr. Linegar would not ever apply for our state ag teacher awards. In fact, he won our OATA Outstanding Teacher Award one year, only because the other teachers in his district filled out the application for him. When it came time to send the application on to NAAE, I could not for the life of me convince Les to send it. He was humble and really didn't feel he deserved the recognition. Les Linegar retired last year after 30 plus years of teaching at Ontario High School, yet he and his wife Marie still went to NAAE conference, and he was actively supporting his replacement at our recent state FFA convention. Les will always go down in my mind as a legend. He has and continually will leave a trail.


I have always regretted not being able to get Les Linegar to send his application to NAAE, and I thought his story needed to be heard. What I failed to get Les to see is that the award was not just for him, it was to highlight his community and his program. These NAAE awards advocate for your program. They are not designed to strictly highlight you or your program's FFA accomplishments, but instead recognize those partnerships that our programs make in our communities. Administrators love to see programs in their schools be recognized, and for those who don't understand ag -- they will have a better understanding after you, your program, and your partners are recognized on a national level.


Ag teachers are humble folks -- who else would work the hours of a farmer and not want to be recognized for it?  I would recommend that in your district meetings once a year, you nominate the teachers, programs, and partners to fill out an application for your state awards. Many times teachers may be more willing to apply if they know they have the backing of their cohort. Also, keep in mind that each state's association is recognized for professional awards, and one of the easiest ways to have a "Distinguished" state organization is to have all the award areas filled.


This is a busy time of year for all of us, including the NAAE staff. Several things are coming down the pike and below is a list of dates and programs that our NAAE staff are working on:


  • CASE Institute Registration is Open
  • CASE to host #TeachAgChat on Thursday, April 20  Join CASE for #TeachAgChat on April 20 from 8-9pm eastern time. The discussion will focus on questioning in the agriscience classroom. For more information about #TeachAgChat, visit
  • National Teach Ag Ambassador Applications are open - Deadline April 10  Each year, the National Teach Ag Campaign selects 12 outstanding preservice agriculture teachers to represent us at the National FFA Convention, and throughout the year as ambassadors, promoting the profession and encouraging others to Teach Ag! Click this link to learn more and apply.
  • National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award WILL be offered for 2017  When we released award applications a few weeks ago, funding for the National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award had not been confirmed. We did receive funding confirmation for that award last week, so it will be offered for 2017. The application instruction, supporting information and required signature sheet are available at, and the online award form should be available in the next 24-48 hours.
  • All NAAE award applications are due May 15, except regional citations, which are to be turned in at each region’s conference.
  • Call for volunteers to judge NAAE Awards  All NAAE members are invited to volunteer to help select regional winners for 2017 NAAE awards. Volunteers will judge up to 10 award applications which will be sent to them using a file sharing program like Dropbox or Google Drive. Interested members should visit for complete details. Deadline to volunteer is May 12.
  • 2017 NAAE Convention  Registration and housing are open for the 2017 NAAE Convention, and NAAE is also accepting professional development workshop proposals through May 12. For all details about NAAE convention, visit
  • DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award  DEKALB® is proud to announce that we will once again sponsor the DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award. For 70 years, this award has been presented to agriculture students who exemplify scholarship, commitment and work ethic. To nominate a deserving student in your chapter, ag educators should visit between March 1 - May 1, 2017.
  • Bayer Offers Awards for Those Seeking to Help Protect & Promote Bee Pollinators  Bayer's Bee Care program recently announced three great opportunities for anyone who has been involved in protecting and promoting bee pollinators as well as for those interested in establishing pollinator forage. There’s a $1,000 Youth Bee Care Community Leadership Award, a $5,000 Bee Care Community Leadership Award, and grants for up to $5,000 to establish or restore pollinator forage. Click here to see how you can apply!


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