2021 NAAE President-Elect Candidates

Deanna Thies
Region IV Vice President
Email: dthies@bpsk12.net

One of my favorite quotes is, “You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretky. It hangs in my classroom and is a quote I model my life, teaching, and professional engagements around. This quote highlights the words of passion, perseverance, and problem solving.

I am Deanna Thies. I have been teaching in Missouri as an secondary Agricultural Education Instructor and FFA Advisor for the past 19 years. I have taught for 18 years in my current position at the Boonslick Technical Education Center in Boonville, Missouri. I am extremely passionate about the past, present, and future of agricultural education. Raised as a daughter of a 33.5 year veteran of the ag education teaching profession, some of my first and fondest memories are attending the Missouri State Ag Teachers Conference for our summer vacation or going on SAE visits with my dad.

Passion to have a strong feeling or emotion. Perseverance to have the persistence in doing something despite difficulty in achieving success. Problem Solving the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues. If I am given the opportunity to serve as the next NAAE President-Elect, I will use my passion for agriculture and the NAAE organization to serve the members and help lead us into the future. I will have perseverance as NAAE develops a new strategic plan to provide a guide for the future, and I will work to solve problems and issues as they arise. I am a person who listens and evaluates a situation versus having a knee jerk reaction. I will listen to members and stakeholders for everyone to work together to preserve our past, embrace our present, and strive for the future of our organization.

Because of my passion for agricultural education, I have served the past three years as the Region IV Vice President and Board Consultant to the Finance Committee. Prior to this experience I served for three years as the Region IV Secretary and have been the chair and secretary of the NAAE Policy and Bylaws Committee, served on area, district, and state executive boards in Missouri for the MVATA Association, served on the MVATA Curriculum and Resource Committee, the MOACTE Professional Development Committee, the Boonville School District Professional Development Committee, and currently serve on the National FFA SAE Based Awards and Degrees Committee.

My roots in agriculture run deep, from my grandfather’s row crop operation and seed cleaning business, to my father as an agricultural educator, to starting my own fruit and vegetable business as a freshman in high school, to assisting my boyfriend on his family row crop and cattle farm, to teaching my nephew about agriculture. When I have to be away from school for a NAAE function, my students always ask where I am going. I explain to them my position and what I do. Many ask why I do it. My response is always, “I ask you to be a leader, help others, promote agriculture, and make a difference. If I am asking you to do this, I must set an example.” Just as everyone in agricultural education challenges our students to serve, we must set the example for the future of our profession. If we do not share our passions, preserve, and solve the problems, we will become stagnant.

I want to see the lines of communication and additional opportunities opened for future and current members of NAAE. I want to see additional opportunities of professional development and support available for Future Agricultural Science Teachers (FAST) on the regional and national levels. I want to see the continued support of current NAAE professional development programs for members and see the additional expansion of those available to more state and regional programs. The continuation and expansion of these programs is only possible through open lines of communication with stakeholders, current NAAE members, and future members.

We must also be fiscally responsible as an organization. While serving as the Board Consultant to the NAAE Finance Committee, I compiled a 10-year overview of income and expenses to look at our earning and spending trends to assist the committee in evaluating for a possible dues increase for continuation and expansion of organization.

I believe I have the leadership, communication, and prior experience to serve as the next President-Elect of the National Association of Agricultural Educators. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to meeting everyone. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Todd Thomas
Region II Vice President
Email: thomast@re1valleyschools.org

The question has to be asked. Why be part of the NAAE and your state Ag-Ed Organization? The’ grass roots’ philosophy is the key. We can utilize this philosophy thru communication at the state level, take those concerns to the regional level and thru committees take it to the whole membership for decisions and ultimatly resolutions.

Let me introduce you to my family. My wife and high school sweetheart is Jana; she Currently works for the Bank of Colorado Investment center and has been with that company for 20+ years. I have two grown daughters: Lori Christine and Kimberly Corrine. They are both married and each have a 10 year old son and a 6 year daughter. Both my wife and I come from rural agricultural backgrounds and know full well the importance of agriculture. We have raised our children to know that same importance. It is my hope that the NAAE organization will continue to encourage healthy personal and family culture among the membership.

My teaching career started in a small rural community called Grover in Northeastern Colorado. In 1998 I moved my family farther east to teach Ag at a small consolidated school called Caliche. Caliche is part of a larger school district in Sterling CO which gave us the resources of a larger district but still gave us the small school atmosphere that my family enjoyed.

I have represented Agricultural Education by serving as Colorado Vocational Agriculture Teacher Association Secretary, President-Elect and President. I have served on the NAAE Marketing Committee as a member, secretary and chairman. I have also proudly served Region II as their Vice President for the past three years.

Committee work is always a question: How much time will it take? What are we going to do and will we be able to accomplish anything? I can assure you that the Current board hears you and are working on plans to stream line this process. This is a prime example of ideas coming from the grassroots and working its way through the system for a solution. This type of work is the key to engaging the membership and solving problems.

I would be honored if you would give me the opportunity to be part of your Ag-Ed family and serve NAAE, your organization, as President-Elect. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.