Outstanding Young Member Awards

Young members of any organization are the seeds from which the organization grows. One way that the NAAE recognizes new young members is to award them on their successes in the classroom.

Region I Jim "J.D." Cant, OR
Region II Kenda Linnebur, KS
Region III Richard Henningfeld, WI
Region IV Javonne Mullins, OH
Region V
Region VI Erin Noble, NJ

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Region I
Jim "J.D." Cant
Imbler High School
Imbler , OR

"Each student that walks into my classroom needs to be equipped to learn, grow and work," said Cant.  That philosophy pushes him to find new, creative ways to teach.  Cant has increased enrollment in his program and has motivated more student involvement in Supervised Agriculture Experience Programs.

Cant feels that it is very important to understand how students' minds operate so that he can create learning methods that increase information retention.  He works to create meaning in his lessons by giving the students hands-on opportunities and has capitalized the fact that his students are very technologically savvy by using the internet as a resource.  Students can find missed work, print worksheets out ahead of class time, and even find information to prepare for exams on his website.  Cant's students run a very successful FFA Chapter with many community service activities.

"Student learning is based upon a willingness to commit to the program," said Cant.  "Student activities assist members in getting a complete education and experience in agriculture education."

"Jim is willing to go the extra mile in helping his students," Said Dennis Clark, Union High agriculture instructor.  "He has stayed after school, giving up weekends and personal time to work with a number of students on a regular basis."

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Region II
Kendra Linnebur
Fredonia High School
Cherryvale, KS

"When students are encountered with situations that actively engage them in the learning process, the level of content comprehension is greatly increased," said Linnebur.  This philosophy has been helpful to Linnebur, who  coached the national championship agricultural communications career development event team at the 2006 National FFA convention.

Linnebur has completely restructured the agriculture curriculum at Fredonia.  During her career as an agricultural educator, she has developed curriculum for six new courses, offering a wide selection of opportunities to her students.  This experience in curriculum development goes beyond the local level; Linnebur serves on a committee to develop a state-wide food science curriculum and is a curriculum writer for the National FFA and USDA, writing a series of lessons for the National Animal Identification System Premise Registration project.

"Students learn best when they see a direct connection between the classroom content and the real world," said Linnebur.  "I believe it is my job to help students apply what they learn in class to situations that exist in the real world by teaching technical and life skills that students must have to succeed in today's society."

"Mrs. Linnebur is an excellent communicator with a manner that is inviting but conveys high expectations at the same time," said Jim Lambert, Fredonia High School principal.  "More than anything, she expects her department to change and to change rapidly. The many chapter and individual awards achieved by her students speak volumes about her success as a motivator and instructor."

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Region III
Richard Henningfeld
Big Foot High School
Walworth, WI

Henningfeld has taught agriculture at Big Foot High School since 2006, and taught previously at Janesville Craig High School from 2005 to 2006. 

"It is important to give students ownership in the curriculum and classroom environment. Developing curriculum around student interest fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates the passion to learn," said Henningfeld.  This philosophy has helped him develop agricultural curriculums that utilize several learning modalities.

Since Henningfeld's start at Big Foot, the FFA membership has grown by 50 percent.  This past NAAE Teachers Turn the Key Award recipient has worked with his cooperating teacher, Lisa Konkel, to develop a well- balanced agricultural education program.  In his courses, students are encouraged to become involved in the FFA and to maintain a quality supervised agricultural experience program.  This concept has been successful, with three students winning state proficiency awards. The FFA chapter has also been recognized as the National Model of Innovation Award Winner in the area of student development for incorporating the most outstanding and innovative student development programming in the nation.

Henningfeld is well respected in the agricultural education profession for his work beyond the local level.  During his college years, he worked as a facilitator for the National FFA Organization for the International Leadership Seminar for State FFA Officers, BLAST Off (Building Lasting and Strong Teams of Officers), Washington Leadership Conference and as a workshop presenter at the National FFA Convention.

"He is an inspiring teacher, a model mentor for high school students, and a caring compassionate young man," said Dorothy Kuaffamn, Big Foot District Administrator.  "As a teacher, he engages students in meaningful activities, spends endless hours involved with students in FFA activities and makes a powerful difference in each student's life."

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Region IV
Javonne Mullins
Fairflield High School
Mt. Sterling, OH

"Educators must instruct to meet the needs of the students, schools and communities," said Mullins.  Teaching in a school where only about six percent of students actually live on a working farm has caused Mullins to offer different types of courses than might be seen in a more traditionally agricultural area.  Not only does she teach basic agriculture classes like animal science, natural resources and agricultural mechanics, she also offers courses in agricultural communications and leadership.  Students enrolled in agriculture classes are required to maintain a supervised agricultural experience program and become a member of the FFA chapter.

Mullins has actively participated in professional development activities so she can bring the best information back to her students.  She has learned to incorporate exciting new techniques into her curriculum that make learning fun for the students.  For example, Mullins' students learn about digestion by creating a digestive tract from Playdoh and food.  Outside of the classroom, the students are involved in service learning through their FFA chapter.  They participate in community programs such as Adopt-a-Christmas Child and Safe Halloween.  Mullins and her students have maintained a positive image in the eyes of the community by actively marketing what goes on within their agricultural education department and FFA chapter.

"I enthusiastically motivate my students to achieve academic success, build self-esteem and allow them to know that each one of them is important in my classroom," said Mullins.  "Career Development Events, Supervised Agricultural Experience and other hands-on activities make learning fun, so that students are more inclined to look at learning as positive and participate in it throughout their lives."

"Mullins touches students' lives in the classroom, out of the classroom and into future years," said Jeff and Lydia Duncan.  "Mullins has the ability to encourage students to strive to their full potential.  Her unselfish hours of involvement show in the lives of her students."

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Region V
Joshua Davenport
Booneville High School
Booneville , MS

"Every student has the right to the best quality of education that each school can offer," said Davenport.  In order to develop more opportunities for his students, Davenport has worked extremely hard to increase the opportunities available to his students.  In 2005 he received a FFA Charter for Booneville so that his students could experience the FFA aspect of agricultural education and hands-on learning.  His FFA chapter has been very successful, with many state and national awards.  In 2007, Davenport expanded his FFA chapter by starting a junior chapter in the middle school.  The participation by younger members has been great so far, and he looks forward to continued growth.

Davenport believes that it is important for students to feel comfortable in their learning environment.  He said, "Motivation is not something the teacher does to the student; it is something the student does to him/herself."  He has worked to create lessons to encourage students can enjoy their classes, while incorporating skills they must become proficient with such as math, English and science.  Davenport also has community representatives make presentations in his classes.  He has been very successful at building these community relationships, increasing the opportunities for student learning.  Along with their willingness to speak to classes, Davenport's community partners have been very supportive financially, giving funding for classroom enhancements and FFA trips to conventions and contests.

"His daily interaction with his students is what makes Joshua stand apart from the rest of his peers," said Todd English, assistant principal at Booneville High School.  "Each one of his students loves having him as a teacher because he truly cares for the person."

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Region VI
Erin Noble
New Jersey State FFA Specialist
New Egypt, NJ

"All students can learn, but at different rates and with different learning styles," said Noble.  She believes that lessons should be relevant to everyday life and should be taught in a way that is beneficial to all styles of learning.  In her classroom, students are given the knowledge they need about a particular subject and then given the opportunity to use that knowledge through debates and demonstrations.  Noble has embraced the use of technology in her classroom with students using twenty-four laptops for research, staying up-to-date on agricultural education and by using an online textbook.  Along with classroom and laboratory instruction, all students are required to keep up a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program and participate in FFA events to embrace "doing to learn" in the program.

Noble's students have been very active both inside and out of the classroom.  She has worked to ensure that the program encompasses student, chapter and community development throughout the year.  Her students develop their knowledge and skills through their SAEs which range from internships with veterinarians and landscape architects to employment in nurseries and floral shops.  Noble makes sure that her students remain involved in their SAEs by requiring them to maintain a journal and other records that are turned in at the beginning of each week.  Noble's program has been involved in the community through volunteering at fire department fundraisers, coordinating an annual agriculture day, and participating in community beautification projects.

"Erin understands the importance of delivering a quality agricultural education program that consists of relevant classroom/laboratory instruction, experiential learning through supervised agricultural experience (SAE) and leadership development through the use of FFA," said Nancy Trivette, State Program Leader for Agricultural Education and the New Jersey state FFA Advisor. 

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