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.

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Region I
Clark Krantz
Flathead High School
Kalispell, Montana

Clark Krantz has worked with students at the H.E.R Ag Center in the Flathead School System for the past 15 years. He is one of three ag instructors in the department that includes a full working farm. Krantz enters the classroom each day with the same philosophy; he sets out to create an enjoyable setting in which students learn information and skills that will help them for the rest of their lives. When working with his students, Krantz sets out to ensure that they are challenged but not overwhelmed. The H.E.R. Ag Center is based out of an ag production oriented community; thus, students see the impact and relevance of agriculture on a daily basis.

Krantz uses lessons in the areas of sales and service, electricity, and meats to build upon the knowledge that students bring into the classroom. In the sales and service unit, Krantz makes arrangements with local farm and ranch supply stores to give students the opportunity to select a product offered in the store. After a product is selected, students must then develop and present a sales pitch for the product. Krantz teaches basic house wiring principles to his students, in which they must complete several circuits with small table top projects. After this skill is developed, students must then construct an 8 x 8 room and wire it with three different circuits. Finally, Krantz uses both virtual and real life tours of food processing. Through meat shop tours, students are able to go beyond what is learned in production agriculture and gain a more comprehensive understanding of market prices, and the need for more efficient feeding, record keeping, selection, animal health, advertising and heightened daily gains. Community-wide partnerships have enabled Krantz to develop interactive learning opportunities such as these for his students.

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Region II
Tim Vanover
Waukomis High School
Waukomis, Oklahoma

Tim Vanover has worked with agricultural students for over 20 years at Waukomis High School in Oklahoma. The Waukomis ag department is located in an area in which production agriculture and agribusiness continues to flourish and the community has high expectations for achievement of its youth. A veteran teacher, Vanover has recognized the importance of diversity in the classroom. When he began teaching 33 years ago there were only 2 girls; today there are 24 in his classroom. The variety in course offerings has increased over the years as well. "The world has changed, agriculture has changed, the students have changed and most importantly, I have changed," emphasized Vanover.

Each day Vanover steps into the classroom with one goal: broadening the horizons of youth, further ensuring that they are equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century. Vanover not only prepares his students for a career, but he prepares them to help themselves and others. His students are exposed to a wide array of agricultural practices such as tilapia production and the harvesting of unwanted geraniums each fall. Each spring, the Waukomis FFA invites nearly half of the town to share in the year's accomplishments. This gives students well-deserved praise and allows the community to see the impact that the agriculture program makes.

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Region III
Peter Drone
River Ridge
Patch Grove, Wisconsin

Peter Drone has spent the last 30 years working with agriculture students at River Ridge High School in Wisconsin. River Ridge is located in a community that holds strong roots in agriculture; three seed companies, two greenhouses, a processing plant, two feed mills, countless equipment dealerships, two co-operatives and an agronomy center are all based out of the community. Consequently, 72 out of the high school's 238 students are enrolled in agriculture courses. Drone has an ag mechanics shop, 18 acres used for crop production, 3 acres of forested land and a greenhouse available to provide interactive learning opportunities for his students.

The curriculum offered by Drone reflects the needs of the ag production based community that surrounds him. Having areas for crop production accessible has assisted Drone in his teaching methods; he is able to apply concepts taught in the classroom to practical situations. In his marketing class students are assigned commodities and monitor them over a six week period. During this time they watch prices and earn points through the use of various marketing strategies. When designing new curriculum, Drone ensures that the lesson will involve students both physically and mentally. All areas of his units include hands on activities that stimulate and encourage the students to learn.

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Region IV
Patrick Henne
Springport High School
Eaton Rapids, Michigan

When Patrick Henne began teaching at Springport High School in Michigan nine years ago he was welcomed by 13 students; since his arrival the program has expanded to serve over 200 of the schools 340 students. With the increase in participation came the addition of two new agricultural educators to assist Henne.

Henne incorporates thematic, project based instruction in his classroom with the belief that a greater level of learning is accomplished when content is connected prior to learning. Each day Henne translates the type of learning experienced through SAE's into his classroom lessons and labs. In-depth, specialized agricultural projects allow students to develop a greater understanding of success in the specialized agricultural fields of today.

Marketing the agricultural program at Springport is a group effort. Students write weekly columns for the newspaper, presentations are made at school-board meetings by FFA officers, products that are produced through the program are sold through an auction, students are directly recruited and the instructors focus on grant writing to allow for the implementation of cutting edge projects in the program. Each individual plays a critical role in the success of the Springport agriculture program.

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Region V
Bo Shadden
Unicoi County Vocational School
Erwin, Tennessee

Bo Shadden has worked with numerous students in the Unicoi County Vocational School in Tennessee since he began teaching in 1997 when the program was reinstated after a 17 year lull. When Shadden accepted the position, minimal resources were available to him. Equipped with a background in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design from the University of Tennessee, Shadden began developing the horticulture program.

Since this time the Unicoi County program has grown to include a new greenhouse used for hydroponic tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and lettuce. The od greenhouse was renovated and a cool cell was added to allow students to grow hydroponic strawberries. Each day, Shadden incorporates technology in his classroom. When he began teaching nine years ago, there were no text books; today powerpoint presentations are used to engage students. "Educators should not question how much our students know as they leave high school but rather, how they can apply the skills that we have taught them. Students should learn in a way that has the ideal mix of theory and hands on experience," emphasizes Shadden. This philosophy has prompted great response among the students at Unicoi; over 400 students signed up for the 100 spots in the program.

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Region VI
Mike Cox
Pulaski County High School
Allisonia, Virginia

Mike Cox has taught agriculture in Pulaski County High School in Virginia for over 28 years. This ag department is located in an area that relies heavily on agriculture, but also has several large production plants in the area. Cox encourages his students to discover their unique talents, prompting them into action.

Cox strives to develop a innovative and dynamic curriculum that challenges his students and moves away from production agriculture and toward the agriscience initiative. Throughout the year students are exposed to a variety of teaching methods and opportunities for experiential learning. This occurs through the utilization of school and community resources, peer interaction, cooperative learning strategies in academic content areas, consideration of learning styles of individual needs. Cox takes the anonymous quote Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap your character. Sow your character, reap your destiny to heart. "Seeds of knowledge are planted in the classroom and are nurtured through the fundamental principles of instruction," emphasizes Cox.

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