Region VI Vice President
Dr. Robin McLean is a Middle School Agricultural Science Teacher at Northern Burlington County Regional School District in Columbus, NJ. She began her career in a high school Horticulture classroom in Penns Grove, NJ then spent five years as the New Jersey FFA Specialist, supporting statewide youth leadership development activities. In 2007, she returned to the classroom as a middle school teacher. She is Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) certified in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Ag X, and Agricultural Business Foundations. She is a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Certified Teacher.
Robin McLean earned her Bachelors in Agricultural Education from Cornell University, her Masters in Vocational and Technical Education from Virginia Tech and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Rowan University. She has been recognized as Region VI NAAE Outstanding Young Member and Teacher Mentor. She was named the Association for Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year in 2012, the same year she was named a Teach Ag Champion. In 2018, Robin earned her Honorary American FFA Degree at the National FFA Convention.
In addition to membership in NAAE and ACTE, Robin is a member of the New Jersey Association of Agricultural Educators where she has served in a variety of leadership roles, the Career and Technical Education Association of New Jersey, the National Science Teaching Association, and the International Society for Technology in Education. She is currently a National FFA Organization Teacher Ambassador and a Global Teach Ag Network Program Manager where she facilitates the Global Learning in Agriculture (GLAG) Reads program.
Robin is concluding her third year as Region VI Vice President after serving the three previous years as regional secretary. Her national committee service and leadership has included NAAE Marketing, Professional Growth, and Member Services; ACTE Middle School Career and Technical Education Advisory Group, and National Awards Program Task Force; and the National FFA Organization Ag Advocacy and Literacy Work Group.
Robin notes “As a pre-service teacher, the value of active involvement in professional organizations was instilled in me. In 1996, prior to student teaching, I attended my first National Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association Region VI Conference. The support network, idea sharing, and opportunity for professional development to enhance my teaching hooked me immediately. As I reach the 25-year teaching mark, I find the concepts that captivated me in the beginning of my career to be the same reasons I value NAAE today. The professional development opportunities from virtual book studies to in person convention sessions continue to enhance my classroom instruction and have a profound impact on my personal and professional growth. The networking experiences with other educators remind me that I have entered a career which truly makes a difference in the lives of agriculturalists as we shape the future through agricultural education.”
As President Elect, Robin plans to work on building the three “Rs” of relationships, relevance and resources through developing strategies to enhance clearer communication to provide necessary support for members. This will help the member voice continue to be a valued part of the organization, in addition to positioning NAAE to continue its role as the premier professional organization for agricultural educators at all stages of their career.
Robin lives in Westampton, NJ with her husband Gene.
Region I Vice President
Hello, I am Eric Tilleman and I want to welcome you from the Big Sky State, Montana. I am currently working for the State of Montana as the Agricultural Education Specialist for the Office of Public Instruction. My current role is assisting the 109 programs in our state with curriculum, funding, and any other needs of our teachers to make them successful leaders for their students. I was an agricultural education teacher for 16 years in Cascade, MT which is a rural community nestled between the mountains and Missouri River. I grew up on a farm and ranch in North Central Montana where it created my foundation of agriculture and passion to be an advocate for the industry.
I graduated from Montana State University with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education and continued my education receiving my master’s degree in Career and Technical Education from Concordia University. I have served the Montana Association of Agricultural Education organization from 2010-2015 as Newsletter Editor, Treasurer, VP, President, and Past President. In the NAAE, I have been on the Marketing Committee, served as board consultant to Professional growth and now the Financial Review Committee. For Region I, I have been fortunate to be selected as a Teacher Turn the Key recipient, Region I Ideas Unlimited winner, Outstanding Educator award individual, Regional Secretary 2016-1019, and Region I Vice President 2019-2022.
NAAE is a very important organization for Agricultural teachers because it advocates for Ag-Ed on the national level, provides resources to create successful programs at local levels, and helps teachers to be part of the Ag-Ed Family. We are a family which helps and supports others in our state and the nation from professional development opportunities, award recognitions, relief fund grants and sometimes just an ear to listen to our struggles as a teacher. NAAE has been a member driven organization and will always be member driven organization to assist all teachers no matter where they teach.
Some of my goals for our organization would be 1) Provide a place where ideas from states could be housed on legislation, advocacy programs, and teaching strategies. I know we have a hole on our end after we dissolved the Communities of Practice platform, but we need to as an organization find a way to build something similar or partner with groups who are already providing specific areas for these documents and idea sharing. 2) Provide more opportunities and workshops to the growing profession such as partnering with National FFA to help teachers filling out American Degrees, Proficiency Applications and CDE Prep. NAAE needs to help teachers who have never been in FFA, new teachers, our teachers coming directly from industry, or teachers looking to branch out in new areas. I believe the NAAE needs to ensure at our conferences we are providing professional development and pathways for all groups. Which brings me to my 3) Strengthen our mentoring programs. I know in Montana, which is like many other states, we are seeing a greater percentage of teachers under 10 years of teaching and or industry credentialed teachers who are filling the need to keep programs going. We need to make sure we are aiding every teacher.
Thank you for considering me for President-Elect and giving me the opportunity to lead our organization to meet the needs of our teachers, advocate for programs and strengthen the outreach. I look forward to answering any questions during our Meet the Candidates but feel free to reach out anytime and I look forward to meeting everyone at the NAAE Convention.