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


Cowboy Logic: “The best thing about the

future is that it doesn’t start until tomorrow.”


When you are 14, it is extremely hard to see past tomorrow. Setting goals and recording them can be an almost impossible task. As you get older, the goals seem to be never-ending, or they are goals that cannot simply be accomplished, but only improved upon. If you remember back to when you were a high school student about to attend your very first National FFA Convention -- can you remember the excitement? For us out west, it might be the first time a student has had the opportunity to leave the state or ride on an airplane -- the excitement is almost unbearable. The trip itself might be so exciting that it is hard to set the goal of why they are going in the first place. Maybe they are going to compete in a National CDE, receive their American Degree, or serve as a delegate. I remember trying to prepare CDE teams who were simply satisfied that they won the state contest and to attend National FFA Convention was simply the reward. We cannot forget that taking students to National FFA Convention might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students, so we have an obligation to make sure it is a fun and memorable experience, because many of them may never get to come back. Don't forget to plan past that CDE event and do a little touring of the region, attend the sessions, go to the concert, plan time for your students to visit the career show -- let your students see a whole new world open up to them and create some new goals from all that excitement coming to fruition.


While attending National FFA Convention, be sure to make a point to bring your students to the NAAE, CASE and Teach Ag booths. The National FFA Convention & Expo can be such a positive experience on your students, that visiting these booths might encourage them to think about their own careers as ag teachers. The more that your students can see that the ag ed family really is a "family," it will definitely shed a positive light on what you do in and out of the classroom. We, as ag teachers, need to use every tool possible to find our future replacements. Our NAAE Staff loves to meet students and showcase the grassroots organization that we belong to. Check out the new things CASE has to offer, and where next year's CASE Institutes will be located, so you can take advantage of reinvigorating your curriculum. Teach Ag will have signing days for students making the commitment to teach agriculture, which can be a huge selling point for your students on beginning their careers as ag teachers, and gives them a game plan for the next steps in their career paths.


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


Matt Chaliff.pngAs much as we would like to see every agriculture teacher stay in the classroom until they retire after a lengthy and fulfilling career, for many, a career change often leads to greater opportunity within agricultural education. So is the case for Matt Chaliff, Agricultural Education Program Consultant and FFA Executive Secretary for the state of Kentucky.


Chaliff was an agriculture teacher in Kentucky, at Taylor County High School for four years, where he saw great program success. However, in 2004 another door opened for Chaliff to develop his full potential as a leader in agricultural education for the state. His accomplishments at the Kentucky Department of Education are the reason he was selected as the 2016 NAAE Region IV Outstanding Service Citation award recipient.


During his tenure in the Office of Career and Technical Education, Chaliff has led the expansion of new SAE resources for teachers, redesign of Kentucky's Principles of Agriculture course, and the development of agribusiness career pathway standards.

Agriscience Fair 15.jpg


Chaliff also values the importance of professional development for Kentucky agriculture teachers. Each year, he coordinates the summer teachers’ conference and winter professional development session. He also teaches a workshop for new agriculture teachers and has been heavily involved in the recent development of the Kentucky Master Agriculture Teacher Program. This program is designed to help agriculture teachers in their fifth to fifteenth years as they grow professionally.



Although Chaliff could have stayed in the classroom, the agriculture teachers in Kentucky are certainly thankful for his willingness to shift careers. Without his leadership within the state, agricultural education would not have grown by the leaps and bounds that it has, which is a benefit for both agriculture teachers and students in Kentucky.



NAAE recognizes current and retired NAAE members who have made significant contributions to agricultural education at the state, regional, and national levels with the Outstanding Service Citation. This program is sponsored by Goodheart-Wilcox. For more information about the Outstanding Service Citation award and to see the other regional winners, follow this link.


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