This is the last time I will give you my thoughts about agricultural education and the NAAE as the NAAE president. I find myself reflecting on how and why I became involved in the leadership of our professional organization. Why did anyone ever think I was the person for the job? What is my Vision for this organization and agricultural education?
I want to publicly say thank you to my closest agricultural education family for the support and belief that I have what it takes to lead this organization. To my Oklahoma and Region 2 friends, know it has been my honor to represent you and to carry your message at the national level. To the different board members that served and represented your regions, we may not have always agreed, but we were unified with the outcome. If there is another organization out there that is as close as this group is and always will be, I want to be a part of it also.
My first NAAE conference was over 20 years ago, in Dallas, Texas. I was a young, wide-eyed teacher with an undetermined future as a high school agriculture teacher. Since then, I have attended many NAAE regional and national conferences. During that time, I have seen this group of agriculture teachers and staff work tirelessly to grow this organization. NAAE staff has grown, we are the go-to group to implement and manage agricultural educations programs, we continue to provide more and better ways for teachers to get professional development and resources needed to have a quality agriculture program, and our awards program applicants have improved in quality. It is the vision of members and staff, along with the help of great partners that made all these accomplishments possible.
My Vision is that this organization continues to be member driven, has 100 percent of agricultural education instructors, at all levels of instruction, as members, and is the national voice on all issues of agricultural education.
What is your Vision for this organization? I hope it is more than just paying your membership. My hope is that you become part of the decision making, do the work needed, and put in time and effort to make sure agricultural education continues to be a valued part of the education of our students. I hope you attend your first NAAE conference this year as a wide-eyed, young teacher and 20 years from now have to write the same letter I am writing today. I hope this is the year that you start developing your Vision for agricultural education and your part in making that Vision happen.
See you in Nashville.
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