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NAAE

5 Posts authored by: Olivia Thomas

Lexington, Ky. – The board of directors of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) is pleased to announce that Alissa F. Smith of Nicholasville, Ky. has been hired as NAAE Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Her assignment in this capacity will begin October 1, 2020.

 

In this assignment, Smith will lead this not-for-profit education-related professional membership association, which serves agricultural education professionals throughout the United States and its territories. In partnership with the NAAE board of directors, Smith will be responsible for the short- and long-term success of the organization by overseeing the leadership and management of the organization. Smith will work with the board of directors and staff to assure NAAE’s relevance to school-based agricultural education and NAAE members, the accomplishment of organization’s mission, vision and strategic plan, and the accountability of the organization to its members.

 

“I am excited to take on this new challenge in leading NAAE,” stated Smith. “I look forward to staying on course with the great programs and services that we have provided over the years and expanding programming to be responsive to needs of our members and agricultural educators at all levels as we continue to grow NAAE and the agricultural education profession.”

 

For the past 14 years, Smith has been the associate executive director of NAAE where she is the primary driving force behind the development of programming to support the recruitment, retention, and recognition of agricultural educators in all stages of their careers. In addition to her work at NAAE, Smith is an accomplished textbook and workbook author and she has served as a university resource teacher for agricultural education student teachers for the University of Kentucky. Prior to joining the NAAE staff, she taught agriculture for five and one-half years in the Jessamine County School District in Ky.

 

Parker Bane, NAAE President and agriculture teacher at Normal Community West High School in Normal, Ill., said, “We are most fortunate to have Alissa Smith in this new role with our organization. Alissa is respected and valued highly by our members as well as our external sponsors and partners. She will continue and expand our mission of providing outstanding professional development for agricultural educators, advocacy for the agricultural education profession, and recruitment and retention of agricultural educators. In addition, she will keep our organization on a sound financial footing.”

 

Smith received the Honorary American FFA Degree from the National FFA Organization in 2019; the DuPont George Washington Carver Teacher Mentor Award in 2015, and the American Cancer Society Mid-South Community Volunteer Award in 2010-11.

 

Smith replaces Dr. Wm. Jay Jackman who has chosen to vacate the position after almost 25 years in this capacity. Smith and Jackman will overlap as NAAE chief executives through December.

 

About NAAE:

The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) is the national professional association for school-based agricultural educators. NAAE is ... “Professionals providing agricultural education for the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy and service.” There are over 9,000 NAAE members nationwide who are agriculture teachers/instructors in middle schools, secondary schools, and postsecondary institutions, agricultural education faculty in colleges and universities, statewide coordinators of agricultural education, college/university agricultural education students, and others who support the school-based agricultural education profession.

 

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With the announcement of ACTE CareerTech Vision becoming the Virtual Vision, NAAE has also made the decision to go virtual in 2020.  We value the health and safety of our members and look to provide a new way for them to engage and earn professional development from their own classrooms, in their homes, or wherever they may be.  With all of the uncertainties in our world today, one thing is still guaranteed…NAAE Convention will be the best professional development conference for ag educators this year! 

One of the greatest additions to this year’s convention will be the opportunity for NAAE members to have access to the content for 365 days after the convention.  “In our traditional in-person event, you would only be able to attend one professional development workshop per time slot.  With our virtual format, all sessions and workshops will be recorded and available on-demand for a whole year giving our members the opportunity to attend sessions at their own pace.  That’s just not available in an in-person format,” said Alissa Smith, NAAE Associate Executive Director. 

Another great component of the new virtual format will the NAAE Networking Lounge.  This will provide a space for ag educators to network and meet-up.  We know our members value the opportunity to swap stories and resources so this space will provide a great area for those conversations. 

With the change to virtual, we are still in the planning phases.  However, you can find the most up-to-date information about registration, schedule, and all things convention on our website at https://www.naae.org/convention2020/index.cfm. 

I am sure many you have heard the Kenny Rogers song the gambler. This was one of my favorite songs when I was growing up. A famous line from this song is "you have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, and know when to run". 
 
We in education have been dealt a very poor hand these past few months but you have played that hand to the best of your ability and I thank you. I want to ensure you that the staff at ACTE and NAAE have worked tirelessly on our behalf to help provide the support and resources we need in the trenches each day. I want to thank them for all their hard work and dedication to our profession. 
 
On another note, as many of you aware we were all supposed to be together in Nashville for ACTE Vision 2020 and NAAE Convention. The staff at NAAE and ACTE held their hand as long as they could in hopes that we would be together in person in Nashville. Given the current restriction of the pandemic, it became apparent that we needed to fold our hand on having an in-person convention.  
 
As we walked away from the in-person convention we ran to the idea of having a virtual conference. I am so excited about the possibilities that this format will provide us. I know several teachers who have not been able to participate in VISION and NAAE conferences due to a lack of funds. This virtual format will allow us to reach more teachers, teacher educators, state staff, and University staff from the comfort of their homes and offices.  There will still be keynote speakers, networking opportunities, workshops, and friendship building. 
 
The schedule has not been finalized yet, but we are hoping to have it set in the next few weeks. The dates will be November 30 - December 4. I hope you will run on over to https://www.careertechvision.com/naae_registration.cfm and get registered for the conference. I have already registered and I can not wait to "see" you all at the conference. 
 
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at Scott.Stone@cr6.org or give me a call at 573-881-3315. 
 
Thanks 
Scott 
ACTE Ag Ed Division Vice President

Preparing for the start of a new school year is never easy, but this year teachers will have even more hurdles to leap before school starts in the fall. For those who will return in person, how do you socially distance in a classroom? In many places, masks will be required for everyone whilst in the school, sanitation has never been more important, and activities that were once common place are now potentially hazardous. Meanwhile, for the teachers who will be returning virtually, how do you make sure that your students are receiving the education they need? How do you virtually go to the green house, or the barn, or do labs in the ‘classroom’?

 

As different as this school year will be, many of our teachers have developed new and creative ways of instructing their students. From virtual field trips to “meet the teacher” postcards, Ag teachers everywhere are finding new methods of reaching their students and making the 2020-21 school year a success.

 

In Center-Stanton Public School in Center, North Dakota, Nikki Fideldy-Doll has yet to find out where her classroom will be in the Fall. The North Dakota Governor has announced that it will be up to the discretion of the school district and her district is currently “collecting data from staff, parents, and community members to help make the best decision.”

 

While she is unsure of what her year will look like, that hasn’t stopped her from making plans. One way she plans to connect with students that she may not get to meet face to face is by sending out “meet the teacher” postcards. New students entering the agricultural education program have received a postcard in the mail introducing Nikki as their agriculture teacher. The postcard includes a QR Code for students to scan that will take them to Flipgrid where they will find a recorded video of Nikki answering fun ‘get to know you’ questions.

 

Besides finding way to connect with new students, Nikki is using some creative online learning techniques she picked up at the end of last school year.

 

“One way I did SAE visits during the pandemic was through my “Flat Fideldy” project.” Nikki said. “Students in the program received my Bitmoji in the mail and they had to take me on an SAE visit. They took pictures with my Bitmoji and wrote journal entries explaining what they were doing.”

 

Meanwhile, in Tillamook, Oregon, Brooklyn Bush is hoping to make a return in person. Her school is also on the fence, but she says “I personally would rather be in-person - I think it's easier to build relationships with students and get them excited for their classes.  There's always a contagious energy when students return to school.”

 

One of the ways Brooklyn is preparing to go back to school in person is by modifying some of her assignments, especially if they contain group work.  She is thinking about lab space and how to accomplish certain labs given the available space and equipment.  Most of her current preparation though is focusing on how to make social distancing work in her classroom.  Class sizes will be smaller, disinfecting will be even more important, and face masks will be made mandatory. Although she prefers in-person teaching, Brooklyn plans to stay current on online teaching techniques and content strategies for virtual learning just in case that is the route her district decides to go.

 

With so many teachers facing the unknown this fall it could be easy to feel disheartened, but in the end, Nikki said it best.

 

“There are so many uncertainties, but one thing I am confident of: if anyone can do it, teachers can.”

 

From Sherisa Nailor:

 

Happy spring!  Four short months ago, I stood before those in attendance at the NAAE Convention and challenged our organization and profession to change the status quo.  Little did I know just how timely and real that message would be to educators across the country.

 

Our task as educators certainly has a different look than it did two weeks ago.  And, among the hustle and bustle of navigating new instructional methods, we are also tasked with managing student leaders from a distance, making contingency plans for events and competitions, and assuring our students and members that we will persevere and survive this unprecedented time.  The key for them, as it is for us, is to work together!  #NAAEBetterTogether

 

If you have not had a chance to engage with agricultural educators across the nation who are facing the same struggles as you, I hope that you will find that connection this week.  If you are in need of materials, lesson ideas, and resources for delivering instruction virtually, check out Communities of Practice, Ag Ed Discussion Lab, or follow NAAE on FaceBook and Twitter.  In times like this, more than even before, we need each other as sounding boards and a support system.  #NAAEBetterTogether

 

My hope for you in the coming months is that you find time to connect in a way like never before.  Use this time to engage in some self-care, try a new lesson format or activity, challenge your students to discover their own learning, finesse a hobby, finish reading that book, spend quality time with family.  Sometimes the world has a funny way of making us all slow down and appreciate life for what it is.  #NAAEBetterTogether

 

In times like these, great organizations need leaders, but we also need an engaged tribe who is willing to challenge the status quo at the grassroots level, and lead the charge for change and innovation.  Reach out to your colleagues, even if just to share in common struggles.  Your NAAE leadership team is here for you and whatever you need, just reach out.  We are all in this together, #NAAEBetterTogether.

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