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


Our interns this summer have been working very hard to help us with our programming and initiatives. We are very proud of their work ethic and dedication and look forward to continuing to work with them as they begin their careers in ag education! If you are attending NAAE Convention this year, in Nashville, you'll get the opportunity to meet these outstanding future educators!



RuthAnnMeyers.jpgName:  Ruth Ann Myers

School:  University of Kentucky

Year in School:  Senior

Hometown, State:  Harrodsburg, Kentucky


Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?  I chose to major in agricultural education because I grew up watching my parents in the classroom, and saw the impact they had on their students' lives. I my future career would allow me to do the same.


What are your professional goals?  I believe that there is a need for agricultural education outside of the classroom, so I hope to pursue a career in lobbying for agricultural policy.


What has been the best part of your internship?  I've thoroughly enjoyed the networking opportunities that come with meeting with staffers in Congressional offices. My favorite highlight has to be when Congressman Abraham from Louisiana spoke on the House floor about the achievements of his constituent that won an award through NAAE.



mattbernia.jpgName: Matthew Bernia

School: University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Year in School: Senior

Hometown: Bay Park, Michigan


Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?  When I started high school, I truly didn't care about school, grades, or accomplishing anything. That all changed after a semester of Intro to Ag, where my first agriculture teacher, Victoria Talaski-Yackle, pushed me to succeed. She was the first teacher who believed in me and connected with me. I want to do the same for other students because of her influence in my life.


What are your professional goals?  As an educator, my primary goal is to provide an exceptional educational experience for all students. I want to be the teacher known for truly teaching students something. In order to do this, I will be a lifelong learner and constantly find opportunities to continue to develop my teaching skills. I also plan to earn my master's degree in agricultural education within the next 10-15 years.


What has been the best part of your internship?  The relationships I have built during my time in Kentucky and getting to know the professional staff that keeps ag ed working has been amazing. It has been eye-opening to see the amount of work which goes into providing the multitude of services NAAE does.


alice_3.jpgName: Alice Cox

School: Clemson University

Year in School: Junior

Hometown, State: Floyd, Virginia


Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?  Since I can remember, I have dreamed of becoming a teacher. The subject was in the air until my junior year of high school, after a few conversations with my advisor, Bruce Caldwell. We discussed how I couldn't set my mind one one subject in agriculture, so he suggested ag ed. He knew this would fuse my dream of being a teacher and all of my interests in agriculture. Now that I am halfway through college, I can't imagine pursuing any other degree. 


What are your professional goals?  I plan to teach agriculture in a high school in South Carolina or Virginia. My goal is to share my passion of agriculture with students and create strong advocates for the agriculture industry. 


What has been the best part of your internship?  One thing I love about agricultural education is that each teacher runs their classroom differently. Throughout the internship, I have loved seeing how over 45 individuals have impacted agricultural education in a variety of ways. The examples of hands-on learning activities, FFA events, and the unique SAE projects have provided me with many ideas that I cannot wait to incorporate into my own classroom. 




Professional Development

savannah.jpgName: Savannah Graves

School: New Mexico State University

Year in School: Senior

Hometown, State: Las Cruces, New Mexico


Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?  When I graduated high school I did not plan on starting in ag ed, I really wanted to go into wildlife biology. When I began signing up for classes, I quickly realized it was not the place for me so I went to an area that was familiar, AXED or Agricultural Education and Extension. Growing up in 4-H and FFA my entire life, it was something that I knew very well. In college, a lot of my peers were individuals that I had grown up with, so they became my extended family. As I began to grow through the program, I started to find my niche. I really enjoy working with the youth of ag and helping them succeed. I realized that I had been teaching for many years, prior to college, and my biggest passion is helping others achieve their goals. As I have grown through the ag ed program, I have also realized that I can help students achieve their goals and pursue other goals they may have not had the opportunity to know about before. 


What are your professional goals?  My professional goals are to obtain a master's degree in something. After receiving my master's, I would like to be an agriculture teacher. I love my home state of New Mexico, but I am not set in stone to staying there. Depending on where life takes me, depends on where I will end up.


What has been the best part of your internship?  The best part of this internship has hands-down been the people. I have now expanded my network by adding many outstanding individuals, but I have also created life-long friendships. I also got the opportunity to attend and help with the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy or (NATAA) which was phenomenal! Watching four fantastic facilitators teach teachers how to teach inquiry was amazing. I have now grown my resources for my classroom tremendously. These past eight weeks have been great and I now have many more tricks for my teacher box, and more fellow teachers to "sit down with" at national convention one night. 


Teach Ag

Elisa Russ.jpgName:  Elisa Russ

School:  Iowa State University

Year in School:  Junior

Hometown, State:  New Hampton, Iowa


Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?  I chose to major in agricultural education because I wanted a career that was challenging, but rewarding.  We always hear that "no two days are the same" for agriculture teachers, and that is really appealing to me. I also love knowing that my work is going to have purpose and I have the opportunity to really leave an impact on the next generation of agriculturalists and leaders.


What are your professional goals?  My professional goals start with beginning my teaching career at a rural high school in Iowa. I hope to earn my master's degree in agricultural education within five years of receiving my undergraduate degree. My final goal is to spend the entirety of my career in education, at some capacity, whether that's teaching at a local agriculture program, serving as a teacher leader, or even as a state agricultural education staff person. 


What has been the best part of your internship?  The best part of my internship has been the network I've developed. Working with my fellow interns, the Teach Ag and NAAE staff, and others has been wonderful, as they have all helped my passion for agricultural education grow. I feel very lucky to have these people help guide me during my journey as an agriculture teacher!


Looking for great and free resources for your classroom? Check out this great freebie from Realityworks!


Give your students a daily reminder of the importance of agricultural education with this free classroom poster by Realityworks. Click here to request a printable copy for your own classroom.

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


By Jamey McIntosh, RealCareer Product Manager for Realityworks, Inc.


jamey mcintosh.JPGIn Wisconsin, where Realityworks’ headquarters is located, we celebrate Dairy Month every June. For those four weeks every year, businesses, schools and individuals host events and create awareness of the impact that farmers and dairy producers have on Wisconsin’s culture and economy. This month, I had the opportunity to exhibit, network and speak with local educators at the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators’ (WAAE) summer conference. Earlier in June, I also had the privilege of taking my wife and four kids to the Calumet County Farm Days celebration on the eastern side of the state. Both events provided me, personally and professionally, with a firsthand reminder of the outstanding work that agricultural education is doing for our students and for our future workforce.


When I think about the needs that we face in developing a workforce that will keep our country competitive, I think primarily of soft skills. In fact, I hear that concern from educators throughout the field of Career and Technical Education (CTE). Knowing how to act appropriately in a job setting, how to communicate effectively, and even how to search for a job are skills that many educators could say has become a lost art. (In fact, we as a company have heard repeated pleas for resources that help students develop soft skills; it’s why we created the RealCareer Employability Skills Program). We have seen an uptick in the need to teach these skills.



Despite consistently hearing how important soft skills are for today’s generation of students, one thing was also made clear to me on my recent trips to WAAE and the farm days celebration: agricultural educators are getting it right. On my trip to Calumet County, I watched, impressed, as students politely greeted my family and me. Wearing dark blue t-shirts that proudly stated “Brillion FFA” on the front in neon yellow, these students looked me straight in the eye when I talked, greeted me with “yes, sir” (and “no, ma’am” to my wife). They confidently walked us around the barn, explaining the milking process, the importance of hard work and how different jobs were for different needs within agriculture, listening to our questions and answering politely. It was through the students of the Brillion district of the Wisconsin FFA Association that I saw the workforce of tomorrow being formed… and these polite, informed, hardworking and innovative students indicated that the future is bright.


However, this bright future is not something that just happens, despite what some might think. I’ve spent time with agricultural educators across the country as they consider the best ways to engage their students and implement interactive learning aids like our own animal and plant science models, and I’ve seen firsthand the hard work that is put into helping students develop both employability skills and technical, job-related skills. At the WAAE conference, I was surrounded by educators taking time out of their summer to learn about electrical wiring wall panel creation, forestry best practices and other career development practices.


When building our future workforce, we need to remember that hands-on learning and project-based learning are great educational tools. After all, the FFA motto includes “learning to do and doing to learn;” it is through this idea that hands-on learning becomes so important. Unlike other core educational classes, it is the hands-on training that gives CTE students a leg up when looking at future employment – it’s not just theory being taught; it is actual training and doing that prepares our students for the careers of tomorrow.


StudentUsingPigModel.jpgProject-based learning helps students connect the dots and helps them understand why they are learning what they are. This is important for the workforce of tomorrow; business and industry are looking for successes. Projects give students the ability to go from start to finish and work through the complications and challenges that come with their experiences.


Finally, it is important that educators be results-driven – and this is one concept that agricultural educators can do and are doing a good job of. In a constantly changing economy, focusing on results and skill development is vital to the success of our future workforce. There are so many different aspects of our workforce that can be taught. Getting students to understand that results matter and following both procedures and protocol will put them ahead of the curve when it comes to career advancement.


I saw all of these concepts in action at the WAAE conference and at the western Wisconsin farm days celebration last month. By continually focusing on these concepts, agricultural educators are helping ensure that today’s students are prepared for tomorrow’s workforce. They deserve a sincere thank you for making this difference.




Give your students a daily reminder of the importance of agricultural education with this free classroom poster by Realityworks. Click here to request a printable copy for your own classroom.

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



If you have called the NAAE office lately, you may have had the pleasure of speaking with our newest staff member, Ashley Hood. Ashley joined NAAE in June as our new Membership Coordinator/Program Assistant, and has been doing a fantastic job so far.


Ashley is a Kentucky native, but has spent the past few years working in Tennessee. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University and her Master of Arts in Education LBD from Georgetown College.


We are very excited to have Ashley as part of our team!

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


ftj.jpgWe work in the trenches of secondary education on a daily basis. Most days are great, full of inquiry-based, hands-on classroom experiences, while other days leave us scratching our heads.


As much as we would like to believe that we will spend our careers in the classroom without any bumps along the way, there is always a chance for a lawsuit or other issue to arise – it is just the nature of our jobs. That’s why having professional liability insurance coverage is essential.


Every active, life active, and student NAAE member receives $100,000 of professional liability insurance through the Trust for Insuring Educators. Additional coverage is available, which include job protection benefits. For an additional $35, you can increase your coverage to $1 million and for $50 you can upgrade to $2 million in coverage. These additional benefits provide legal support if you are subject to termination, reassignment, demotion or suspension.


Know your benefits – how you’re protected, and if you may need an insurance upgrade. For more information about your current coverage plan and upgrades, follow this link.

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



NAAE would like to welcome the American Egg Board as our newest Communities of Practice sponsor. The American Egg Board is now sponsoring the Food Science community, which currently numerous resources for ag teachers, from curriculum maps to innovative labs. The American Egg Board plans to add to these great resources in the near future.


It is thanks to our sponsors that we are able to provide the Communities of Practice platform as well as many of our other initiatives. Thank you American Egg Board for you increased support of our organization and profession!


For more information about Communities of Practice, or to create an account, please click here.




Through the American Egg Board (AEB), U.S. egg producers come together, in accordance with statutory authority, to establish, finance and execute coordinated programs, on research, education and promotion — all geared to drive demand for eggs and egg products. AEB and all program activities are funded by U.S. egg producers, subject to USDA approval.


AEB's mission is to increase demand for eggs and egg products through research, education and promotion. Follow this link for more information about the American Egg Board.

Premiums Due!

Posted by Scott Stone Jul 7, 2017

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


As I came in from a long day of work, I sat down at the table to go through the mail.  The first couple of pieces were ads that could be thrown away. The next was a back to school letter. I was in no way ready to read that, so I shuffled through to the next envelope. The next envelope was larger than most and had the red and black MO Farm Bureau emblem on it. There was no mistaking what was in that envelope -- my car insurance premiums are due.


As I opened the envelope to see how much it would be, I began to think about car insurance. It is a necessary evil. It is something I need but hope to never use. I read that there is a car wreck somewhere in the world every 60 seconds. Many times, those wrecks are not even the fault of the driver. It could be the other driver, the pothole in the road, or the animal that darts out into the road. When one of the accidents occur, it is nice to know that there is insurance to help pay.


Then I began to wonder, why do I go with Farm Bureau for my insurance and not one of the other companies? As my mind wondered, I came up with a lot of reasons I stay with Farm Bureau. I know that Farm Bureau is advocating for agriculture at all levels. They work tirelessly to preserve our rural way of life, not to mention the staff are always great. They are there to answer my questions and help in anyway they can.  I always know they are on my team. Then I remembered how I used their website to gain a lot of valuable information to use in my classroom. I am also reminded of how the organization is grassroots and listens to the members on the local level and shifts that information up until it finally reaches the national level.


I was quickly brought back to the present when my wife and kids came through the door. That meant supper was soon to come, so I had better hurry and finish going through the mail.


The next envelope was from the MO Vocational Agriculture Teachers’ Association. It was the invoice to pay my state and NAAE dues. My mind began to wonder, why again do I pay my dues to MVATA and NAAE? Just like Farm Bureau, numerous reasons began to pop into my mind.


The first thing to pop into my head was that insurance thing. Again a necessary evil. The professional liability insurance that comes with my NAAE dues is something I hope to never use, but never want to be without. We all hear of cases where teachers are being sued for one thing or another. I even heard that a set of parents tried to sue a teacher because their child earned bad grades. Our professional liability insurance is an NAAE benefit for every member. As a member, you also have the opportunity to purchase more liability insurance.


Then I began to think about the other benefits that NAAE provides, just like Farm Bureau. I know that the NAAE staff works tirelessly to advocate on behalf of agriculture teachers all across the country, not to mention the staff are fantastic. We could not be luckier to have such a talented and dedicated staff. They are performing numerous  activities from Dr. Jackman participating in a Farmer to Farmer exchange in Africa, to Alissa working on professional development workshops at state conferences, to finalizing award judging. Julie is updating the website, monitoring CoP, and developing materials for NAAE conferences. Katie is working to finalize travel and hotel accommodations for the NAAE conference. Andrea is working on the Monday Morning Monitor and the News and Views. She is also managing the NAAE Facebook page, which has seen a lot of activity this summer. Ellen is busy working on meetings with State Teach Ag Results teams and working to make sure every open position is filled. The CASE staff are busy hosting numerous CASE Institutes across the country. And Ashley Hood accepted our offer to become our new Membership Coordinator/Program Assistant, with retirement of Linda Berry.


I could not help but think about all the professional development that NAAE offers from Teachers Turn the Key, to the National Agriscience Ambassador program. Not to mention the virtual book club, which is in progress right now. Who could forget the Community of Practice page that has countless resources for ag teachers on just about every topic imaginable? Just like Farm Bureau, NAAE is a grassroots organization.  Teachers on the local level funnel ideas and concerns to the state level, which in turn bring them to the regional level. Finally, the regional committee members and vice presidents bring those items to the Board of Directors. Every decision we make on the board is in hopes of providing each member with the tools and resources they need.


I was again pulled back to reality when my wife yelled "dinnertime!" I will just have to remember after dinner to pull out the checkbook and pay my premiums. It is well worth the investment and I hope you do the same.


A Message from our Partners as part of News & Views:


NAAE July Ad.jpg

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


xlr8.jpgAre you an active NAAE member in your seventh to fifteenth year of teaching? Are you looking a new kind of professional development experience to help breathe new life into you as a teacher and into your classroom? If you answered yes to either or both, check out this year’s XLR8 program!


Developed in 2013, the eXcellence in Leadership for Retention professional development program is designed to meet the needs of mid-career agriculture teachers. XLR8 is a year-long professional development program that includes participation in an intensive professional development experience during the NAAE convention. After convention, participants continue their collaboration through NAAE’s Communities of Practice as well as other social media tools.


The goals of the program include:

  • Developing experienced teacher leaders who will mentor other teachers in the profession.
  • Providing mid-career level specific professional development to participants.
  • Increasing overall longevity and satisfaction of participants with their chosen career of teaching agriculture.


Eligible applicants must fit the following criteria:

  • Active NAAE member for the three previous years
  • Currently in their seventh to fifteenth years of teaching
  • Currently working in school-based agricultural education during the NAAE membership year they apply
  • Must be able to attend the entire NAAE Convention, as well as additional professional development activities throughout the year

*Current members of the NAAE Board of Directors and previous program participants are not eligible to apply.


Interested? To apply for this year’s XLR8 program, click here! Applications are due by September 1, 2017.


The XLR8 program is sponsored by CSX as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. For more information about the program, including previous years’ participants, follow this link.

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