Outstanding Teacher Awards

Enthusiastic, motivated, inspiring... these are just a few words that describe an Outstanding Teacher. The NAAE Outstanding Teacher Awards go to agriculture teachers that have kept a tradition of excellence in their program along with the inborn love for agriculture. This year the Outstanding Teacher Award is sponsored by Syngenta.

Region I
Glen A. Landrus
Astotin High School
Clarkston, Washington
Region IV
Randy Garrett
Mt. Vernon High School
Carl Junction, Missouri
Region II
Shirley Stevens
Chickasha High School
Chickasha, Oklahom
Region V
Jodi N. Geiger
Pine Ridge High School
Edgewater, Florida
Region III
Darold Hehn
Rapid City Schools
Rapid City, South Dakota
Region VI
Martin C. Heyler
Cowanesque High School
Westfield, Pennsylvania

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Region I
The Region I winner was Glen Landrus from Asotin, Washington.

Glen Landrus has eight years of teaching experience under his belt and many more exciting years to come. Glen arrived at Asotin High School in 1996 and since has increased participation in the agricultural education program and FFA membership. At the 2002 National FFA Convention, 10 Asotin FFA members received their American FFA Degree.

These outstanding increases in participation are due to his teaching philosophy: you must teach real-life skills in real-life situations. Approximately 75 percent of his students participate in the Asotin County Fair either showing animals or exhibiting various projects. In addition to these real-life skills in real-life situations, Glen exposes his classes to hands-on activities, such as creek water analyses and welding projects that help drive home the fundamentals of his teaching.

Furthermore, Glen Landrus is an active member in his professional organizations. He is a member of the WAAE (district president in 1999), NAAE, and WA-ACTE. Landrus feels that supporting these organizations is imperative to improving teaching and enhancing the profession.

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Region II
The Region II winner was Shirley Stephens from Chickasha, Oklahoma.

There are many "firsts" with Shirley Stephens. She has fought many battles to gain her respect and sense of belonging as a female in the male dominated agricultural education profession. In 1971, Shirley was the first female agricultural education graduate from Oklahoma State University and eight years later she was the first agriculture teacher to be employed in Oklahoma. In 1982, Shirley was Oklahoma's first female Honorary State FFA Degree recipient. All of these battles have helped her stay strong and go after what she believes in whole-heartedly -- agricultural education. Her success has continued to follow her during her 22 years of teaching.

The Chickasha FFA Chapter received the National Gold Emblem Award 11 of the 22 years that Shirley has been at this school. Her students have placed incredibly high in the national career development events. In 1997, her Sales and Service team placed third in the nation and in 2000, her Dairy Cattle Evaluation Team placed ninth in the nation. The Chickasha Agricultural Education Department has received the Outstanding Agricultural Education Award from NVATA/NAAE twice. In personal successes, Stephens received the Outstanding Young Teacher Award in 1985.

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Region III
The Region III winner was Darold Hehn from Rapid City, South Dakota.

"Open the doors to the Rapid City Central Agriscience classrooms any time of the day, an hour before school or an hour after school for example, and you will see students learning because they choose to do so," says Darold Hehn, agricultural education teacher. This sense of belonging and excitement in the classroom is what has brought Rapid City's Agricultural Education Program success. Darold is the motivation for the students and the program.

During Darold's teaching career, he has advised and guided his students to many achievements. He has lead 24 state first place production CDE teams, six State FFA Officers, 49 State FFA Degrees, 14 American FFA Degrees ... and the list continues on!

The Rapid City Agriscience program is a model agriscience program with a foundation built from tradition, and a ceiling built from the opportunities yet to be discovered. This "model agriscience program" is a dream come true to Darold. His dedication and love for the Rapid City Agriscience program is priceless.

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Region IV
The Region IV winner was Randy Garrett from Carl Junction, Missouri.

When is the last time you did math without a calculator? Not recently, is what most people would say. Randy Garrett teaches his students to calculate math problems in their head, without calculators. He feels that it is important for his students to be able to apply fertilizer, lay concrete and calculate feed rations without carrying around a calculator. This holds his students up to higher standards and challenges them to think out of the box!

"All students can learn and be successful." This is Randy's teaching philosophy and a great one at that! This positive belief is what brings Mount Vernon High School the high enrollment in agricultural education programs. Approximately 136 students are enrolled and 100 percent of them are members of the FFA and participate in supervised agricultural experiences. Furthermore, 86 percent of these students participate at all FFA chapter activities.

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Region V
The Region V winner was Jodi Geiger from Edgewater, Florida.

Welcome to the "Real-World." This should be Jodi Geiger's classroom motto. In her agricultural education classes, Jodi emphasizes why students should learn to do and do to learn. To guide this philosophy, she requires all of her students to participate in supervised agricultural experiences. Once students are engaged in these activities, she will use their projects as teaching tools to inform the class. She has taken her classes on field trips to local cattle ranches and veterinarian offices. This allows her students to see the real meaning of her lessons.

"I like what I do and I love my subject area," stated Jodi. This is what drives her to have a successful program. She lives by the adage: "The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the great teacher demonstrates, the superior teacher inspires."

"Everyday," she says, "I strive to be a superior teacher." This vision has come true. Some of her students are now going into the teaching profession stating that she was their inspiration. In addition, she has lead many winning teams in competitions, such as Food Science, Horse Evaluation, and Livestock Evaluation.

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Region VI
The Region VI winner was Martin Heyler from Westfield, Pennsylvania.

"Why do we need to know this?" This is the most dreadful question that students ask their teachers. For Martin Heyler to avoid this question, he has his students do hands-on activities. Martin follows part of the FFA motto, "Learning to do." He feels so strongly about this philosophy that he weighs hands-on participation as 70 percent of his students' grades. "Most students cannot weld by reading about it in a book," stated Martin. Students have become so involved in this program that they have taken on small projects on their own, such as birdbaths and maple syrup shanties. In addition, it is a requirement that all students are active in supervised agricultural experience project. These projects can be production oriented, work oriented, or skill oriented.

Martin enjoys his profession and is successful in what he does. Last fall he was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree, a highlight of his career.

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