Teacher mentors are willing and able to give of themselves to assist other teachers. 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. The NAAE Teacher Mentor Award recognizes those educators that lend a hand to others in their profession.
Through his 26 years of teaching agriculture at Shields Valley, Rose has served as a mentoring teacher for 21 student teacher interns. He has also been a constant point of contact for agricultural education undergraduates, volunteering numerous hours to answering questions about the profession over the phone.
Rose prefers a mentoring fashion that allows his student teaching interns to experience a balanced program. Beyond classroom instruction, he advises his mentees to take tours of students supervised agricultural experience programs and review student record books. Additionally, his student teachers coordinate Rose's agricultural issues career development event team. "The student teacher selects the team, sets and conducts practices and travels with the team. By doing this it seems that it immediately gives the student teacher a feeling of acceptance, responsibility, confidence and allows them to interact with students toward achieving a common goal," said Rose.
"He challenges his student teachers to grasp new concepts and content in his classes while giving them the encouragement and confidence they need to succeed," said Dr. Martin Frick, Montana State University professional educator in agricultural education. "Over ten percent of all active agricultural educators in Montana have been supervised by Jim."
During his 23 years of teaching agriculture at Cushing, Smith has served as a cooperating teacher for 14 student teachers. Smith has been recognized as the Oklahoma Agriculture Teacher of the Year and was selected as the Oklahoma Career and Technical Teacher of the Year in 2007.
Julie Bond-Ledford, mentee and nominator for this award, student taught under Smith in 2001. Bond-Ledford majored in agricultural education at Oklahoma State University and has taught agriculture for nine years at Nashville Community High School in Nashville, IL.
"The philosophy that Mr. Smith has towards a student teacher's experience is to treat them as if they were certified teachers and working as his teaching partner," said Bond-Ledford.
Smith encourages his student teachers to become involved with all aspects of his program. Outside of classroom instruction, Smith takes his student teachers on visits to students' supervised agricultural experience programs and allows them to coach career development event (CDE) teams. Bond-Ledford coached a team of eighth grade students in the floriculture CDE during her teaching internship.
"Mr. Smith spent many hours with me as a young teacher giving me valuable information on how to run a balanced agricultural education program and still excel in many areas of the FFA with students," said Marty Coulson, Wellston Public Schools agricultural educator and former-mentee under Mr. Smith. "He is a great role model for any young teacher entering this outstanding profession today."
Throughout his 27 years of teaching agriculture, Mueller has been a mentor to many student teachers. According to Josh Christiansen, a former student teacher of Muller's, he always welcomes new teachers who need assistance and is willing to help in any way he can. Mueller has worked to develop a very successful FFA chapter at Garretson with many awards and accomplishments to show the success. He is willing to assist student and new teachers with ideas on how to increase student's participation and learning through FFA activities, such as career development events.
Mueller's open door and willingness to help has influenced the lives of those around him. He is always working to improve not only himself, but the agricultural education profession as a whole. He works with his student teachers by reviewing situations they encounter each day, helping prepare them for a classroom of their own. Mueller is looked up to be his colleagues, whether they are a first year teacher or a veteran teacher with much success of their own. He has become a leader and mentor to those students that have walked through his classroom door.
"Mr. Ed Mueller is the true model of the qualities that a great agriculture instructor should possess," said Christiansen. "Whenever I have questions about classroom instruction or FFA participation, Mr. Mueller is the first person I go to for help."
"Mueller has been extremely helpful to all individuals, students and teachers alike," says Terry Rieckman, McCook Central agriculture teacher. "He is always willing to go out of his way to help members to accomplish the goal of student success."
Briscoe taught agriculture at Mark Twain High School from 1980-85 and at Madison C-3 from 2002 to present. Her program has an enrollment of 47 students with 100 percent FFA membership. In her career as an agricultural educator and 4H youth specialist, she has diversified her knowledge of the agriculture industry and organizational leadership. This experience has helped her make a large impact in the agricultural education profession, including mentoring fellow teachers.
Jessy Reuterdahl, agricultural educator at Paris High School since 2006, is one of those individuals that has benefited from Briscoe's mentorship. Reuterdahl meets with Briscoe on a weekly basis to discuss curriculum, FFA activities and career development events.
"Last year I trained a horse evaluation team and the first thing I did was talk to Teresa. She provided me with information about horse judging and gave me tips of where to start. Teresa has exposed me to several helpful websites, books and power points to aid in my teaching," said Reuerdahl.
"While Teresa has never been a formal mentor to me, her teaching relationship towards me would embody every sense of the word. She is always willing to help out anybody who is in need of assistance and I can assure you that she always goes above and beyond to ensure the success of all agricultural education endeavors," said Jarod Womack, Macon R-1 agricultural educator.
Burdette has taught agriculture for 26 years and at has been at Golden Strip Career Center since 1994. Previously, he taught at Crescent High School, Blue Ridge High School and the Roper Mountain Science Center. As an advisor of an agriculture program in one of the nation's largest school districts, Burdette has specialized the agriculture program to focus on landscape technology, golf course technology and animal science.
During his career as an agricultural educator, Burdette has mentored both school districts and young professionals. In 2005, the J. Harley Bonds Career Center implemented an agricultural education program with the mentorship of Burdette. He helped the career center acquire the proper equipment and supplies. Afterwards, he assisted the district in the hiring process of a new teacher, Brittney Padgett. He continued involvement with the school, assisting Padgett by making all of his syllabi and materials available to her.
Burdette has also been instrumental in assisting a former student, Matthew Rollins, in his early career as an agricultural educator. When Rollins was hired at Woodmont High School, he received assistance from Burdette with greenhouse management and landscape design curriculum and materials. Burdette also reached out to his former student further than just content delivery; he spent much time conversing with Rollins about classroom management, maintaining facilities and classroom procedures.
"Barry loves teaching and it shows in every aspect of his teaching philosophy," said Mark Earle, Hillcrest High School agricultural educator. "When I started my teaching career, I talked to Mr. Burdette several times a week about how to handle all types of situations. He has always made the time to answer each question and discuss any concerns I had."
Frederick began his role as a mentor when he started teaching high school agriculture at Twin Valley High in Elverson, PA. After 35 years of teaching at the high school level, he retired and began working part-time for Penn State. During his years at Penn State, Frederick has been busy visiting and assisting student teachers, organizing teacher workshops and working one-on-one with young teachers.
"Ron knows the struggles that new teachers go through, and understands what needs to be done to keep us in the profession," said Tim Gettle, Northern Lebanon agricultural educator and former-mentee. "He has always made himself available to me anytime I needed help with anything that I was having trouble with." Frederick says he takes the time to mentor young teachers because when he was a beginning teacher, someone took the time to mentor him. He understands the role mentors play in keeping teachers interested in the profession after their first few years of teaching.
At the beginning of each year, Frederick gets in contact with all the new teachers in the area to find out how he can help then, and he immediately begins his visits. Over the last four years, he has been able to visit and work with thirty-six young teachers at their schools. Along with the personal visits, he has been very diligent in providing opportunities for young teachers to come together with each other and more experienced teachers through workshops, record book career development judging and dinner meetings. Whether it is assistance with creating lesson plans or how to prepare a career development team, Frederick has covered it in one of his many venues of workshops, school visits, tips for improvement or gatherings with experienced teachers.
"Ron may be retired from the high school classroom, but he hasn't retired from teaching," says Tracy Marchini, Garden Spot High School agriculture teacher. "He has taken his years of experience and enthusiasm for teaching agriculture to a higher level as he shares this experience and enthusiasm with a new generation of educators."