Awards

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
Mike Martin
Walla Walla High School
Walla Walla, Washington
Region IV
Bill Kittinger
Eldorado High School
El Dorado, Illinois
Region II
Becky Smith
Guthrie High School
Guthrie, Oklahoma
Region V
Al Griffin
Beulah High School
Valley, Alaska
Region III
Andrew Rowe
Iowa Valley High School
Marengo, Iowa
Region VI
Deb Seibert
Menheim Central High School
Ephrata, Pennsylvania

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Region I
Mike Martin
Walla Walla High School
Walla Walla, Washington

Mike Martin has had 22 years at his present position in Walla Walla to develop his ideas, philosophies, and goals on agricultural education. Not only has he developed himself as an agriculture teacher he has developed connections with his students, parents, community members, and supporters.

Focusing on student's strengths and community needs Mike has developed curriculum about Sales and Service, Job Interview, and Agriculture Careers. He shares these curricula with agricultural educators across the country. With the development of his Agricultural Careers curriculum his program became the first in the state to receive Tech Prep credits in agriculture.

Realizing that many students didn't have a place to raise projects, Mike secured over $8,000 worth of grants to renovate an old barn into a learning laboratory where students could raise their own livestock and integrate laboratory portions of his Vet tech class.

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Region II
Becky Smith
Guthrie High School
Guthrie, Oklahoma

The Region II winner was Becky Smith from Guthrie, Oklahoma. Becky Smith believes that the most important thing a teacher can do is to "teach each student to realize the potential they each have and expose them to the opportunities available to them." Becky focuses on her students and their place in the future. Whatever her students have planned for after graduation, Becky Smith helps them get there. Whether her students are going on to higher education or want to work in a local greenhouse Becky believes it is her job to make that transition successful.

Parents, fellow educators and employers all attest to Becky's success, not just in helping students be prepared for the future, but in other aspects of teaching as well. She uses new technologies, taking distance courses to teach herself, and relies on hands on activities to teach students horticulture and communications. Without a doubt Smith is very talented and indispensable to her students and community.

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Region III
Andrew Rowe
Iowa Valley High School
Marengo, Iowa

The Region III winner was Andrew Rowe from Rapid City, South Dakota. A Chinese proverb states that "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Many of those who have started their journeys in Marengo, Iowa have started in Andrew Rowe's agricultural education classroom.

Through effective marketing of the program Rowe has seen the membership grow from 17 students when he started in 1976 to 77 students this past year. Making contact with forty percent of all students in the high school Rowe has focused on helping each student find their own success while in high school and after graduation, whether that was being an FFA officer as a student or starting their own electrical business after graduation.

Rowe has served as a Vice-President of the Iowa Association of Agricultural Educators, received the Governor's Council Promotion and Marketing Award, and six years ago started a farming operation. These experiences don't detract from his ability to teach, they actually make him a stonger guide for students as they start their journey.

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Region IV
Bill Kittinger
Eldorado High School
El Dorado, Illinois

The Region IV winner was Bill Kittinger from El Dorado, Illinois. Kittinger, an agriculture teacher at Eldorado for 22 years, uses a hands-on approach to teaching that helps his students learn skills that they can use in real life settings. With this philosophy, Eldorado students operate a greenhouse production facility where they oversee all aspects of a business while learning about plant growth.

During Kittinger's time at Eldorado, he has changed the curriculum of the program so that students enrolled in the Horticulture and Ag Business Management classes can receive science and math credit, respectively. This has increased enrollment in the program while allowing students to earn important credits for graduation.

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Region V
Al Griffin
Beulah High School
Valley, Alabama

The Region V winner was Al Griffin from Valley, Alaska. "I teach skills that students can use to either build an education or to enter the world of work," says Griffin, who has been teaching for 12 years. Griffin meets with business and industry leaders in order to ensure that his curriculum complies with current industry standards. He has continued his education in order to provide students with training that will prepare them for life after high school, be it the workforce, technical school or a university.

Griffin was the first agriscience instructor in Alabama to receive National Board Certification, a rigorous performance based assessment that takes nearly a year to complete. Of the certification process, Griffin says, "It was a true test of my professionalism both as an educator and as a person. I know that I am a more effective educator due to this process."

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Region VI
Deb Seibert
Menheim Central High School
Epharata, Pennsylvania

The Region VI winner was Deb Seibert from Epharata, Pennsylvania. Deb Seibert takes the responsibility of a being a teacher in a student's life very seriously. She works with her students to become trusted not only as a teacher, but also as a friend. "This is not something you measure with a standardized test," says Seibert, " but with the satisfaction that you made a difference in a child's life."

When Seibert began teaching at Menheim in 1985, the program catered to "farm kids" focusing on Agricultural Production and Mechanics with an enrollment of 72 students. Today, the program is a three-teacher department with an enrollment of 650 students. With Seibert's leadership, the program now offers a variety of classes that direct students into one of two pathways.

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