Lifetime Achievement Awards

NAAE awards the Lifetime Achievement Award to individuals who have contributed to the advancement of agricultural education on a regional or national level.

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Region I
Larry Church
Fruitland, ID

Church is a retired teacher from Fruitland High School.  During his 35 years of teaching, he had accomplishments not only for himself, but also for his students and the agriculture departments he served.  Church was an instructor at Vallivue School District and Fruitland High School where his students achieved excellence in many areas.  He had students receive state and American FFA degrees, compete in state and national career development events and win state proficiency awards.  Along with his students' accomplishments, Church received many honors himself throughout the years.  He received the Distinguished Service Award from several different organizations, as well as winning the Idaho Outstanding Teacher Award twice.

Church's devotion to his profession during his 35 years of teaching is exemplary.  Church spent much of his time serving on committees, working with students and teaching training classes for fellow agricultural instructors across Idaho.  He was continually involved with professional affiliations throughout his career.  He served as the president of the Idaho Vocational Agriculture Teachers' Association for two years and president-elect for one.  He was also instrumental in creating the Farm Business Management career development event tests for both Idaho and Nevada.  Church has been an outstanding model for agriculture teachers in Idaho.

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Region II
Dr. James Tollett
Magnolia, AR

Dr. Tollett has spent several years serving as professor and chair for the Department of Agriculture at Southern Arkansas University (SAU).  During his time there, he made a lasting impression on students, fellow professors, and visiting teachers through his professionalism and focus on details.  No matter what the event may have been, Dr. Tollett always made sure that everything was in order.  Prior to taking this position at SAU, Dr. Tollett spent twenty-six years traveling throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and the Pacific for Dow Chemical Company in research and development.

Because of his love for agriculture, it is no surprise that Dr. Tollett is respected by his fellow agricultural educators.  He remains active in several professional organizations, including the Arkansas Vocational Agriculture Teachers' Association.  His involvement includes planning career development events at the university, judging the state agriscience fair, and national speaking events.  Dr. Tollett has touched the lives of those around him in such a way that the 2008 state FFA convention was dedicated to him.  Besides this honor, Dr. Tollett has received numerous awards from the associations he has assisted including an Honorary American FFA degree.

"Dr. Tollett leaves behind a lasting legacy of service to both agricultural education and the industry of agriculture," said James Cannon, Arkansas Vocational Agriculture Teacher's Association Secretary/Treasurer.  "He is referred to as a man who is ‘truly a legend in Arkansas agriculture.'"

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Region III
Dr. Harold Crawford
Ames, IA

Dr. Crawford is a retired professor of Agricultural Education and Studies at Iowa State University.  During his 57 years of service to agricultural education in Iowa, Dr. Crawford has touched many students' lives, written numerous proposals for grants, and has won many awards and much recognition.  Crawford has served as a secondary agriculture instructor, collegiate instructor, head of the department of Agricultural Education at ISU, and Associate Dean for the College of Agriculture at ISU.  Even after retirement, Crawford has maintained an office at the university where he remains busy writing more grant proposals and mentoring students who come through the agriculture and/or education programs.

Along with his work, which gave him many accomplishments, Crawford made it a priority to remain active in the professional associations to which he belonged.  Crawford attended many conferences throughout his career, and volunteered to chair several projects and seminars on the state and national level.  With his continuous involvement, Crawford stayed true to his passion for students and agriculture throughout his amazing career. 

"Crawford believed in stretching whatever agricultural education program he was involved with to provide a learning by doing experience for students in education," said Brian Feldpausch, with the Iowa Association of Agricultural Educators.  "He conducted a superior high school program for students and enabled his students to experience real agriculture."

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Region IV
Jack Simmerman
Spencer, IN

With 39 years of teaching agriculture under his belt, Simmerman has more than made his mark on agricultural education.  That mark includes more than just his service as a teacher; during his career Simmerman has been active with the Indiana Association of Agricultural Educators (IAAE), the Indiana FFA Association and the National FFA Organization. As an accredited parliamentarian, he has helped at the Indiana and National FFA business meetings for several years. After retiring in 2002, he has continued to use his expertise by helping FFA advisors with the parliamentary procedure career development event, and serving as a district judge. 

Simmerman has been awarded both the Hoosier State and American FFA degrees, and has been also served as the IAAE as district director.  He has also served terms on the Indiana FFA Foundation Board of Directors, Indiana Agricultural Awareness Committee, and on the Owen County Fair Board.  Deservingly so, he has been recognized as the Indiana Agri-Science Teacher of the Year.

d "Jack is a very active participant in agricultural education and community activities as evidenced by his many awards," said Cherie Hofmann, agricultural educator at South Central High School.  "He puts in countless hours to each of these organizations, making sure that each gets his very best efforts."

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Region V
John Denmark
Tallahassee, FL

Throughout his years as a high school agriculture instructor, and then a regional consultant for the Florida Department of Education, Denmark has made a lasting impression on agricultural education in Florida.  He was instrumental in making agricultural education a viable science-based program that allowed students to receive science credits for their agricultural classes.  Denmark has assisted with funding for programs through his Agriculture Centers of Emphasis projects, and he helped develop the middle school curriculum for Florida.

Denmark has also made an impact on agricultural education in Florida through his participation in professional organizations.  Throughout his career, he was active in several organizations by serving on committees, taking offices and participating in events.  His hard work and dedication has been recognized through all the awards and honors he has received, including his Honorary American FFA degree and National Vocational Agriculture Teacher's Association distinguished service award.  To show the appreciation the Florida FFA has for his work, the state officer team of 1988-89 began a scholarship fund in his name, allowing him to continue to impact the lives of students.

"Mr. Denmark retired with 37 years of service to education," said Farrah Johnson, ESE Representative for the Florida Association of Agricultural Educators.  "His contributions to agricultural education and FFA are numerous and his influence is evident today."

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Region VI
O. Beverly Roller
Weyers Cave, VA

Roller's involvement in agricultural education dates back to his membership in the Weyers Cave FFA chapter in the late 1930's.  While he served as both Virginia state FFA president and a national vice-president in his youth, he is most recognized for his service in public education. Roller taught agriculture for 23 years in four school districts, retiring from Fort Defiance High School in 1987.  During his teaching career, he served as an area supervisor for agricultural educators for 15 years.  After he retired from teaching, he stayed involved in his community as a six-year member of the Virginia General Assembly and 14-year member of his school board.       Roller is a past recipient of NAAE's Outstanding Service Award.  He has left a legacy in each aspect of agricultural education with which he has been involved, including being a charter member of the Virginia FFA Foundation.  In 2007 he was a Virginia FFA Leave a Legacy honoree and helped establish a lifetime sponsorship of the Virginia FFA public speaking career development event.

"Mr. Roller has indeed been a role model and has influenced many young people to be the best they can be during his years involved in agricultural education," said Mr. Michael Brown, agricultural educator at S. G. Stewart Middle School in Virginia.

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