It's convention season for agricultural educators. First comes the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis and then NAAE Convention in Atlanta. I am certainly looking forward to both events as they provide unique opportunities for each of us. For me, the NAAE convention has four main themes. First, it is an opportunity to recognize excellence in our profession through our awards program. As a rule, we educators tend to shun recognition for ourselves but it is very satisfying to be recognized by one's peers. Second, it provides a great opportunity to network with fellow agricultural educators. While our programs are tremendously diverse, we all share similar challenges and successes. You don't want to miss our Mystery Speaker and Networking Reception on Tuesday night! Third, it provides outstanding professional development opportunities. There are over 90 professional development sessions scheduled, most taught by our fellow educators. And finally, it brings us together to do the important work of our professional organization through committees, regional meetings and election of a new president and president-elect. I know that our convention will succeed in providing all of these for those who attend.
I believe it is important to keep moving our association forward. This year the board began work on a new strategic plan for the NAAE and we will be addressing it through our committee structure. As I have written about in past articles, I believe that the Common Core will require us to take a fresh look at how we teach agricultural education. I believe that we can and will show that agricultural education is the very best model for student success, no matter what the measure might be. Data collection continues to be a challenge for us. The Teach Ag Campaign has collected data from teacher educators over the past summer. The Ag Career Network is a step in the right direction but it will only give us valid data if WE get students, FFA members or not, to utilize it.
Finally, It has been a tremendous honor to serve as a board member and president of the NAAE. I have served with dedicated people on the board and our staff does an amazing job running our association. I want to thank each of them for their friendship and guidance during my tenure on the Board. I will serve as the NAAE representative on The Council for the next two years. I will do my best to represent agricultural educators and keep you and the board informed about Council initiatives. We have much to be proud of as an association and much work before us as we continue to adapt to the changing educational and demographic landscapes. I hope to see you in Atlanta!