"Teacher mentors are willing and able to give of themselves to assist other teachers," said NAAE President Roger Teeple. "They realize that the future is in our young teachers and help prepare them to be leaders and become successful in years to come in the classroom and the community." a The NAAE Teacher Mentor Award recognizes those educators that lend a hand to others in their profession. CEV Multimedia sponsors this award.
James O. Summers
West Side High School
Eldorado High School
Noble High School
Beaufort, North Carolina
Harrisburg School District
Harrisburg, South Dakota
Chatham High School
Summers has served as an agricultural teacher for 30 years. Having supervised 27 student teachers and mentored three first-year teachers, he has helped contribute to the expansion and growth of many agricultural programs. A majority of the student teachers that Summers mentored have remained in the teaching profession.
Clinton Aston, a former student intern and present teacher at Sky View High School in Utah, nominated Summers to receive the Teacher Mentor Award. "Mr. Summers supported my student teaching performance with many days of observation and many hours of counsel," said Aston. "He was a continuous mentor for me in my first four years of teaching. Although Mr. Summers and I now teach in different states, the support and encouragement have continued."
Horton has served as an agricultural teacher for 29 years. In 1976, Horton was hired as the agricultural instructor at Norman Public Schools. Three years later, he transferred to Noble High School to teach agriculture. "As a mentor to my own students as well as my student teachers, it was important to me that each student find his/her interest and allow someone to help them develop that interest in a challenging way…" said Horton.
Although Horton has mentored 29 student teachers, an agricultural instructor that benefited immensely from Horton’s assistance and teachings is his daughter, Jona Kay Squires. Squires, currently following the career path of her father by teaching at Norman High School, nominated Horton for the Teacher Mentor Award. Squires explained, "After his 29 years of service, I am proud to support my father for this award."
Todd Marks has served as an agricultural teacher for 23 years with the majority of those years in the Harrisburg School District in South Dakota. Not only has he developed an outstanding agricultural education program and FFA Chapter in Harrisburg, he has been instrumental in helping six student teachers and many first year teachers gain the knowledge to create exceptional programs.
Michael Christopherson, second-year agricultural teacher at neighboring Beresford School District, nominated Marks to receive the Teacher Mentor Award. "Mr. Marks has taught me many valuable lessons to be successful as an agricultural instructor," said Christopherson. "Because of his encouragement, I am motivated to continue to stay in the agricultural education profession and help students learn about agriculture."
During his career as an agricultural instructor at Eldorado High School in Illinois, Bill Kittinger has mentored many first-year teachers and student teachers. Most recently, he served as the mentor teacher for Mandy Brandenburg, the agricultural instructor for Clay City High School. Brandenburg nominated Kittinger for the Teacher Mentor Award.
Kittinger has assisted Brandenburg in establishing curriculum for her classroom and lab facilities, developing Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs, training Career Development Event (CDE) teams and completing award applications. The two teachers communicate through face-to-face meetings, phone calls and e-mail. Although responsible for his own agricultural program, he is always available when other agricultural teachers need assistance.
Tom Sawyer is no stranger to agricultural education and the FFA. He has been teaching in eastern North Carolina for 27 years currently serving as the agricultural teacher at East Carteret High School. The agricultural program there consists of courses in animal science, agriculture mechanics, aquaculture and horticulture. He maintains a greenhouse, aquaculture facilities, barn, shop, classroom and 13 acres of land.
Nicholas Armendariz, the agricultural instructor at Ayden-Grifton Schools, served as a student intern for Sawyer and nominated him for the award. "Mr. Sawyer goes out of his way to help everyone that he can," said Armendariz. "He works with his students on their SAE projects, trains his teams as best he can and does everything to help his students succeed."
Being a beginning agricultural teacher can seem overwhelming, unless you find a mentor like James Craddock. Craddock has taught agriculture for almost 30 years in Pittsylvania County in Virginia. In 1985, he became the agricultural instructor at Chatham High School. The program expanded to a two-teacher program, and Jason Ince was hired two years ago as a beginning teacher. Ince nominated Craddock for the Teacher Mentor Award.
Mr. Craddock has been my mentor from the day I started work here in Chatham and a good friend as well," said Ince. "I feel I would not have been as successful in my first two years as a teacher and might have changed careers if it were not for him." Craddock has assisted Ince with classroom management strategies and has introduced him to many community members.