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5 Posts authored by: Kevin Stacy

Where A Vision Is Started!

Posted by Kevin Stacy Sep 29, 2014

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.


Kevin Stacy

 




A Message from our Partners:

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You never know who or what will make an impact on you -- someone who shares great ideas for solving a problem, or someone who is always willing to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Oftentimes, this impact comes from someone or some event that you least expect. As agricultural educators, we are impacted by our students, parents, family, and colleagues all the time -- people showing us time and again how to "get off the fence" and make a difference. 


It happened to me again this weekend. My son gave me a glimpse of what it means to "get off the fence." While in college, my son took up riding saddle broncs. Those of you that follow the sport of rodeo know this a rough stock event where it is extremely difficult to learn the skills necessary to be successful. I am proud of the effort and time he has put into learning these skills. He may never be an NFR qualifier, but he will always be one in my eyes. He is not sitting on the fence.

 

My daughter played volleyball in college. I have witnessed the time commitment it takes to play at that level. The hours of practice, the conditioning, and travel time, along with completing her class work. Today, she is a second grade teacher and prepares the same way for her classes. Based on conversations I have had with her administration she is not sitting on the fence.

 

This leads me into my topic for this message. The NAAE needs members to get off the fence. This organization is full of talented individuals who are needed to serve at the state, regional, and national levels of NAAE. During the national conference, regional vice presidents and secretaries will be elected, appointments to professional agriculture boards will be made, and members interested in filling other leadership roles can be identified. Some of these positions require an MOU to be turned into the NAAE office by September 15th. The MOU can be found on the NAAE website or contact your regional vice president with questions and for help. I encourage state and regional leaders to identify and recruit those members to get off the fence and bring the skills to the table needed for this organization to continue to expand our role in setting policy for agricultural education.

 

My term as your president is coming to and end. I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve this great profession. It has been a challenging and exciting 15 years of leadership at the state, regional, and national level. I have tried to lead in a direction that increased our voice where agricultural education policy is discussed. We must continue to seek out ways to unify the voice of agricultural education, so we can tell our story. I chose to get off the fence, now it's your turn.


A Message from our Partners:

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The school year is over for most of us, summer break has started, and we are already preparing for the next school year. You probably are working on next year's class schedule, identifying and ordering supplies needed to start the year, and hopefully attending some professional development events. I encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities available to learn new ideas and bring them back to your classroom. Attend your regional conference, one of the many activities offered by educational vendors, and hopefully you applied for a CASE Institute or DuPont Agriscience Ambassador Academy. There are many opportunities out there that can help you make next year's school year even better.


The NAAE staff has worked hard at improving the NAAE website. Based on feedback from the membership, a new website is up and running. Like all change, it will take time to become familiar with all that it has to offer. Check it out, it is a place you can find anything you need to advocate for agricultural education, improve your lesson plans, order NAAE materials, or just see what is going on in the agricultural education world.


Spring arrived in some areas with a bang. Storms and fire left its mark on some of our members. The NAAE has provided some funds through the relief fund to some of our members. In my time on the board, that is one of the best ideas that ever came out of a national meeting. I hope you have some kind of activity planned for your regional meetings that will support that fund.


Charlie and myself will be attending the regional conferences held this summer. I always look forward to attending those events. It is where we gather information, network with other agricultural education advocates, and see and learn about agriculture and agricultural education in those locations. Some of my best friends were made during those conferences. I have not missed a Region 2 conference in 20 years. If you have never attended your regional conference, I encourage you to start your 20 year streak this year. Take your family, it is a perfect opportunity to get refreshed.


Remember to tell your story, it is our best advocate tool.



Will Our Story Be Told?

Posted by Kevin Stacy Apr 2, 2014

Will Our Story Be Told?


Whose job is it to get us there? Is it my job, is it the NAAE's job? Is it your job, or is it your students' and community's responsibility? I believe the answer is all of the above. If one part is missing, then we loose an important spoke in the wheel of success.


Advocacy begins at the local level--agriculture instructors just doing what we do best, is the beginning. Teaching students about agriculture, taking students through career exploration in agriculture, teaching leadership skills, and providing opportunities for student recognition will produce advocates for agricultural education. Successful career and college ready students are the best advocacy tool we can bring to the table.


Where and to who do we tell that story? We yell it to anybody that will listen! It is a story that parents, local businesses, legislators, school administrators, school faculty, and media must hear. When they see and hear our story, then they become advocates for agricultural education.


Advocacy is something we are doing when we put articles in the newspaper, hold our end-of-year banquet, and meet with our advisory group. At that level it comes easily; we are in our comfort zone. It is when we step out of that comfort zone that we perceive it being more challenging.  Why change what you do best? Your story will work at all levels of advocating. It has the same effect at the local and national levels.


The NAAE board and staff are working hard to develop advocacy tools for our members to use. Advocacy lessons have been developed to guide you through the process. These lessons are available to use at the local level to expand your comfort zone. The NAAE board continually collaborates with other agriculture organizations to identify strong messages for agricultural education.  The NAAE board will always promote agricultural education, but the local voice will always be louder and stronger than ours.


My challenge to you, is just tell the story. Your story will always add spokes to the wheel of success.

Hello NAAE members. I enjoyed seeing old friends at national conference. It is always the best part of attending regional and national conferences. My NAAE friends are quick to help out when needed, but also will put me in my place when needed. I want to thank the NAAE board, staff, interns, and members for their efforts that made the conference run smoothly. I heard plenty of positive comments and a few suggestions to make it even better in the future. It takes input from all stakeholders to improve what we offer during the conference. I would ask that you thank those sponsors for their support of agricultural education. The NAAE board is always receiving feedback from those sponsors and is amazed at how many comments they make about the thank you notes they receive.


I have a few goals for my year of leadership. The most important goal is to advocate for agricultural education. To do this, I need you to open the doors you know and have your local and state leader's attention. I can take the message of agricultural education and the NAAE to the national stage but it is not as well received without your input. It will take all of our efforts to have an effective advocacy agenda. Goal two: Continue our efforts to align the NAAE's efforts with the new strategic plan. The strategic plan outlines ways to enhance membership benefits, promote agriculture education, and develop better relationships with other agricultural education organizations. Goal three: Gather feedback from membership on the board and committee restructure proposal. I believe that the NAAE can become an even greater voice for agricultural education if we have a broader representation from all agricultural education stakeholders. The NAAE standing committees have a major role in implementing the new strategic plan. This will require more time than just a few meetings a year. I know you will give serious thought to both proposals.


As I write this, president-elect Charlie Sappington and I will be attending the National FFA stakeholder meeting and the National Agricultural Education summit at the end of January. It is our charge to represent agricultural educators in both of those arenas. National FFA and NAAE have a great partnership, but must continue to work collaboratively for agricultural education and FFA to achieve our common goals. Recruiting and keeping agriculture teachers, growing and adding quality agricultural education programs, and recognizing student achievement must be a priority . This will in turn grow the National FFA organization and agricultural education. Supervised agriculture experience programs will be the topic at the summit. Defining SAE's to reflect on their true value to agriculture education programs and students will be the major task.


National Policy Seminar is the first week in March. I encourage states to send a representative to help us advocate for agricultural education in Washington D. C.

Please feel free to contact your regional vice presidents,  Charlie (csappington@cumberland.k12.il.us) or myself with questions or concerns. Have a great spring.

 

Kevin Stacy