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Andrea Fristoe

Continuing a Legacy

Posted by Andrea Fristoe Oct 10, 2018

This is a feature from the October 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


Looking back on the formative years of our teaching careers, we can all remember those mentors who helped us get on our feet and keep our heads above water. For Krista Pontius, agriculture teacher at Greenwood High School, in Millerstown, Pennsylvania, the positive influence her mentors had in her early teaching career encouraged her to continue the same legacy as a mentor to new agriculture teachers in her state.


“In my early years of teaching, I relied on the advice of seasoned teachers and advisors in my tri-county area,” said Pontius. “As I began to feel comfortable in my position, I felt it was my responsibility to give back to the profession by serving as a mentor to new teachers in the field.”


For the past 14 years, Pontius has served as the mentoring coordinator for the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators. Through this role, she matches first-year agriculture teachers with appropriate mentors to welcome new teachers into the ag education family and help them get a head start in their careers. As the mentoring coordinator, she also works with individuals at Pennsylvania State University to conduct workshops, webinars, and other forms of support for new agriculture teachers throughout the year.


Most recently, Pontius worked with NAAE to host Pennsylvania’s first Agriculture Inquiry Institute. This event brought together teachers with varying levels of experience and introduced them to inquiry-based teaching and learning. Numerous participants commented that this event was the best professional development experience of their careers.  


Pontius plans to continue her work as a mentor and mentoring coordinator for the state of Pennsylvania. She values the influence mentoring agriculture teachers have in new teachers’ lives and wants to develop more opportunities for teachers in all phases of their careers to come together and collaborate.


It is for her hard work and dedication as a mentor coordinator that Pontius was selected as the 2017 NAAE Region VI Outstanding Service Citation award recipient. 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 award. This program is sponsored by Goodheart-Willcox.


Follow this link for more information about this award category and to see the other regional award winners.

This is a feature from the October 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.

National FFA Convention:


As I look back at some of my most memorable events during my teaching career, one would be experiencing National FFA Convention. For me, being able to experience the excitement of thousands of students cheering for agriculture, while representing every state across this great nation would definitely be at the top of my teaching experiences.

I would like to encourage you to stop by the NAAE booth (#4535) to meet the NAAE President-Elect candidates, Hals Beard from Region II and Parker Bane from Region IV, and to also see what we have to offer you in your daily ag teacher's walk of life. While at convention please, come by the CASE booth (#4627) to find out how attending a CASE Institute can change the effectiveness of your teaching skills and influence your daily instructional lessons.

Please be sure to visit the “Blue Room” at the National FFA Convention, no tickets are needed and there will be a lot of technology offered. While you are making plans to attend this year’s convention I would like for you to consider this question. Who will fill your shoes when you retire from the classroom? The agricultural education field is in great demand for teachers in every state. With that being said, I want to encourage you to have your students come by the Teach Ag booth (#2501), so they can get involved in agricultural education early and consider ag ed as a future career.

National TEACH AG News:
Tagged to Teach Ag Declaration Event
Calling all seniors and transfer agricultural education majors. Are you committed to becoming an agriculture teacher? Sign-up for our Tagged to Teach Ag Declaration Event at National FFA Convention. Participate in a brief (less than 10 minutes) special event that recognizes you for intending to Teach Ag. Bring your parents, advisor, and friends. The signing event takes place at the Teach Ag booth (#2501) in the FFA Expo area during National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, October 25-26 on our stage. Please make your way to the Teach Ag booth 10 minutes prior to the time you sign-up for and check-in with Elizabeth or Andrea. We take care of the rest.


Schedule your time today!


State Teach Ag Results (STAR) Program 2019 Enrollment
Information on enrolling in the 2019 STAR program is now available. Existing state contacts were sent details last week. If your state is not currently enrolled in the STAR program and you want to be, contact with questions. All states, new and existing, must submit their intent to participate form no later than November 16 to receive grant funding support in 2019.

Future Agriscience Teacher (FAST) Symposium
The National Teach Ag Campaign and the National Association of Agricultural Educators are hosting a Future Agriscience Teacher (FAST) Symposium November 26-December 1 in San Antonio, TX, in conjunction with the NAAE Convention. Through an application and selection process 34 students were awarded stipends to attend. We would like to invite additional preservice teachers who may be attending NAAE to join the other 34 attendees. Unfortunately, they will need to cover their own travel, registration and housing. If students wish to attend at their own expense, they will need to arrive Monday, November 26 so they are ready to have dinner at 6pm Monday evening. They may depart any time after Noon on Saturday, December 1. Of course, they are welcome to attend NAAE convention on their own as well, this track applies only to those who want to commit to participate in the FAST track.

Please RSVP by Thursday, November 2 if you have students who would like to participate in the FAST track.


Staff Update:
The NAAE board meeting was held on September 8-9, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky, at the home of Jay and Sharon Jackman. The board meeting was very productive and updates were given to the board by our NAAE board representatives. The NAAE staff are working very hard to make this year’s NAAE Convention in San Antonio, Texas outstanding. There will be numerous professional development opportunities happening this year at the NAAE Convention, so please take advantage of this opportunity to not only better your teaching skills, but meet other teachers and network across the nation.

We are excited about and hope you get to participate in the 2018 National Agricultural Education Summit to be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio, Texas on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, just prior to the 2018 NAAE Convention and ACTE CareerTech VISION 2018.

Thank you and safe travels,
Jason Kemp


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