Everyone in one way or another has had a mentor to look up to. It is important in the field of agricultural education that all teachers have someone to talk to, ask questions, and share ideas with. After all, there isn’t an "Agricultural Education For Dummies" book out there! The NAAE Teacher Mentor Award recognizes those educators that lend a hand to others in their profession. CEV Multimedia sponsored this award.
Wilson Creek High School
Wilson Creek, Washington
Weberville High School (Retired)
Moore High School
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Covington High School
Riverland Community College
Cannon Falls, Minnesota
King William High School
Center Cross, Virginia
For 18 years, Scott Mortimer has called Wilson Creek High School home. In addition to advising the students that go through his program, Mortimer is a valuable resource and mentor for agriculture teachers in the surrounding areas.
Brian Ellis, agriculture teacher at neighboring Ephrata High School, nominated Mortimer for the Teacher Mentor award. Ellis “values Scott’s advice and willingness to help” and with Mortimer’s help has been able to double the number of student’s in Ephrata’s program from 25 to 50.
During his career as an agriculture teacher at Moore High School, Liston has mentored three student teachers and countless first year teachers. Liston was nominated for the Teacher Mentor Award by Jona Kay Squires, an agriculture teacher at Norman High School and a former student teacher under Liston.
“He gave me enough room to grow and develop my own teaching style and enough guidance to be successful as a new teacher,” says Squires of her student teaching experience with Liston. Most importantly, Liston has continued to be a mentor to Squires in her teaching career, offering advice and support for her program.
The role of being a mentor is not new to Hobert. During 23 years of teaching at the high school level, Hobert mentored 20 student teachers from the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-River Falls. In his current position at Riverland, he currently works with over 140 students and farms that are enrolled in the Farm Business Management program.
Hobert, in cooperation with the University of Minnesota's agricultural education department, created the Professional Excellence Program (PEP) for beginning farm business instructors in 2000. Through PEP, beginning teachers are mentored and prepared with the skills they need to be successful and to survive their first year on the job. In the three years of its existence, PEP has grown to be recognized as one of the premier mentoring programs in the country.
Although retired from actively teaching since 1997, many Michigan agriculture teachers still consider William Wheeler a mentor and friend. With a teaching career that spanned 34 years, Wheeler was a mentor for 31 student teachers, guiding them on the road to agricultural programs of their own.
The mentoring didn’t end when the student teacher left Wheeler’s program. He along with his wife Janice, continue to visit programs throughout the state of Michigan helping with problems as small as rearranging a small classroom to utilize space to helping enhance the learning of students. Bill also continues to work with student teachers as well as offering professional development workshops for beginning teachers.
From encouraging his high school students to become agriculture teachers, to supervising student teachers and advising neighboring high school agriculture students, there are not many in the western Tennessee agricultural education community that have not been mentored by Turner at some point in time.
Two of Turner’s former students, Liz Flanagan and Ann Johnson became agriculture instructors with his guidance. One of his former student teachers, Glenn Goulder, was named the 2003 Outstanding Tennessee Ag Ed Teacher. Turner reaches out to programs in the surrounding communities, helping teachers by providing curriculum ideas, demonstrations and workshops as well as simple advice to help them and their students succeed.
Being a beginning agricultural teacher can seem overwhelming, unless you find a mentor like Howard Hill. Nominated for the award by Rebecca Carter, an agricultural education teacher at Essex High School, Hill has mentored Carter for four years, helping her become a better teacher.
In her second year of teaching, Carter didn’t know anyone in the eastern area of the state. After shuffling through a list of names, Carter dialed Mr. Hill’s phone number. His response to her call: “No problem. Got it all under control and welcome to the eastern area.” From helping with curriculum to assisting with the design of a greenhouse, Hill has helped Carter throughout her four years at Essex.
Hill teaches in a single teacher program at King William High School. In the past six years, he has increased the membership by 50% and has added several aspects to the program, including aquaculture, a Christmas tree farm, and small animal care.
Together, Hill and Carter have helped create a new career development event for special need students. Both teachers have seen an increase in their enrollment of special need students and wanting to recognize them on a federation level, crated a special agricultural mechanics career development event that recognizes each student with a ribbon or pin for their accomplishments.