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


New teachers are always hungry for innovative, insightful, and engaging ways to teach their students. From professional development workshops, to looking for ideas on the Ag Ed Discussion Lab or Communities of Practice, there are endless opportunities to find creative ways to teach. As experienced agriculture teachers, it is important to encourage our new teachers to seek out opportunities to learn and grow in our profession.


For Heidi Richard, agriculture teacher at Beau Chene High School, in Arnaudville, Louisiana, professional development is the key to her success in the classroom.


“I believe it is essential for educators to help students reach their highest potential by teaching them the important skills needed for their futures,” said Richard. “Therefore, I try to attend various conferences to gain unique teaching ideas that will help engage my students.”


As a first-year teacher, Richard quickly learned the importance of differentiating instruction and providing hands-on experiences for her students to gain life skills. She found that the more relevant her assignments were to real-life scenarios, the more engaged her students were in the classroom. Throughout her teaching career, Richard has had her students develop resumes, prepare and present speeches, and complete mock interviews to help them gain valuable employability skills that they will need later in life.


Now in her sixth year of teaching, Richard makes it a priority to attend the NAAE Region II conference to watch the Ideas Unlimited presentations. From these presentations, she has been able to see numerous ideas that she can modify for her own classroom purposes. This year, she taught a soil textures lesson to her students using a candy activity she saw during these presentations. Richard uses the knowledge and skills she learns from all of the conferences and conventions she attends to better her curriculum, and ultimately her students.


“My goal as a teacher is to prepare my students for the future, and to do that I have to go above and beyond their expectations in order for them to discover their purpose in life,” added Richard. “I want my students to look back and realize that their life was changed because of agricultural education.”


As a recipient of the 2017 NAAE Teachers Turn the Key scholarship program, Richard was able to gain numerous new ideas and techniques the help reach her students at the 2017 NAAE Convention. NAAE offers the Teachers Turn the Key Scholarship as a means of encouraging young teachers to remain in the profession, and to encourage and recognize participation in professional activities. Follow this link to learn more about this award category and to view pictures and news releases of our award winners at the 2017 NAAE Convention. This program is sponsored by RAM Trucks as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.


A Message from our partners, as part of News & Views: 


US Traveler

Posted by Nick Nelson Nov 7, 2018

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


Cowboy Logic: “I am no longer

young enough to know everything.”


I have a map of the United States that I have been carrying around since I was in high school. After visiting a state, I color it in on the map. I started color-coding the states as well, so I can differentiate between the reasons I was there. So far, I have visited 31 of the 50 states. The majority of those states I visited because of my involvement with NAAE—16.  Most people travel to see the sites or shop the unique stores—I have always been interested in an area's agriculture enterprises. When I come back, I always talk about the production I saw and experienced with my students.


The other advantage of traveling that I have had is meeting ag educators. What surprises me every time is the fact that ag teachers are the same everywhere you go, which is cool because there is no teacher in any school that has the personality of an ag teacher! So I thought I would put a list of why I think ag teachers are so unique compared to the average school teacher.


  • We vote liberal about education issues, but we vote conservative about agricultural issues
  • We are the only teachers to ever visit a student’s home
  • We invest countless hours that we don’t get paid for—and don’t lose any sleep over it!
  • We are constantly changing our curriculum, sometimes minutes prior to class—and we can pull it off!
  • We know more about accounting than the finance teacher (especially about tax write-offs)
  • We know more about mammalian reproduction than the health/biology teacher and expect our students to care for real, live babies
  • We teach “real” math every day
  • We know all of the other ag teachers in the state and region and consider them dear friends
  • We never ever let the truth get in the way of a good story
  • We are a “Jack of ALL Trades,” but recognize that “We are a Master of None”
  • And we focus on teaching every child, everywhere, every day!


As I finish out my term serving NAAE on the Board of Directors, I can’t explain in words how amazed I am of the people in our profession. Ag teachers are truly the most impressive people in their schools and communities. Thank you all for allowing me to have the most rewarding experience I could have in this profession. Everywhere I have gone in my travels with NAAE, I have been made to feel like family—thank you for that!


Many things have happen this fall in the NAAE office. We have offered the Marketing/Communications position to Libby Duncan and she has accepted and started work for NAAE towards the end of October. We were very impressed with Libby’s background and expertise, and feel very strongly she is the right fit for this position. Hopefully you will be able to meet Ms. Duncan at the NAAE Convention in San Antonio. The rest of the staff had a successful week in Indianapolis, visiting with both teachers and students, and have been working tirelessly to prepare for the NAAE Convention and make it the best professional development event to date. You also may have seen some leadership changes to CASE.  Be rest assured that this outstanding professional development initiative is in good hands and will continue forward to benefit agricultural educators in years to come! I look forward to seeing you all in San Antonio, and I am extremely excited about the vision and the progression of where agricultural education is headed.


Best wishes,

Nick Nelson


A Message from our partners, as part of News & Views: 


Here are additional documents referenced in the previous "Seeking Candidates for Teacher Position on the National FFA Organization Board of Directors" post.

Agriculture Teachers:


NAAE is seeking agriculture teacher candidates to serve a 3-year term on the board of directors of the National FFA Organization.  This 3-year term of service will begin July 1, 2019 and conclude June 30, 2022.  As set forth in the attached Memorandum of Understanding (attachment #1) between the US Department of Education and the National FFA Organization, the agriculture teacher representative will be a representative of the US Department of Education.  Additional documents are attached to explain the responsibilities for National FFA Organization board members and as well as FFA organizational documents (attachments #2-6).  Candidates may also choose to review minutes of National FFA Organization Board of Directors meetings here …


Candidates for this position must submit their credentials to the NAAE office no later than 5:00 pm Eastern time on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.  E-mailed and/or faxed documents are acceptable.


The following completed documents are required of all candidates:


  • cover letter expressing interest in this position
  • resume highlighting experiences and expertise
  • Memorandum of Agreement Teacher 2018 (attachment #7 … signed by candidate and candidate’s administrator)
  • BOD Teacher Contact Information Form (attachment #8)


From among all applicants, the NAAE Board of Directors will select three nominees to send forward to the US Department of Education and to the National FFA Organization Board of Directors.  The US Department of Education and the National FFA Organization Board of Directors will make the final selection from among the three NAAE nominees.


Candidates may scan and e-mail completed documents to the NAAE office at or fax completed documents to (859) 323-3919.


Please direct questions about the National FFA Board of Directors to Dr. Steve Brown at


Please direct questions about submitting your credentials to me at


Thank you.




Wm. Jay Jackman, Ph.D., CAE

Executive Director

National Association of Agricultural Educators

300 Garrigus Building

Lexington, Kentucky  40546-0215

Office: (859) 257-2224 or (800) 509-0204

Cell: (859) 619-4990

Fax: (859) 323-3919


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