It is those that go above and beyond the call of duty that impact our lives the most. Those can be doctors, nurses, your best friend your teacher. The agricultural education profession provides numerous opportunities for teacher educators to further their professional development and keep up with the times. The NAAE Outstanding Service Citation Award is given to those who serve their profession in professional activities, school activities, and community service.
As the agriculture teacher at Wasatch High School, Sulser is continually tweaking his instructional methods to enhance student learning and also emphasizes the importance of community service to his students. Students who take Sulser’s classes have consistently scored above the state average on testing, due in part to the continual addition of new and innovative ideas into the classroom. Additionally, his students participate in numerous service activities, including Agriculture in the Classroom, volunteering at the Heber City Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and donating items for families during the holidays.
“Teaching students to be active caring citizens of their communities is just as important as being a student,” said Sulser.
Outside the classroom, Sulser has made an equally sizable contribution to the profession and national direction of agricultural education. He has served as a board member with the Utah Association of Agricultural Educators (UAAE), NAAE, the National Council for Agricultural Education, the Utah FFA Foundation, and the Utah FFA Advisory Board, among others. He has worked to increase agricultural education advocacy efforts with legislators, encourage curriculum that is up-to-date and relevant for students, and build a network online where agricultural educators can communicate and support each other.
“He [Sulser] has continually tried his best to improve not only his own classroom and students, but also the classrooms and students of career and technical education, particularly agricultural education, across this great nation,” said a representative of UAAE, who nominated Sulser for the award.
Beams has been a part of agricultural education for more than 30 years, serving in various aspects of the field. Beginning his career as an agricultural educator and FFA advisor, Beam coached three national gold emblem Career Development Teams and a national Prepared Public Speaking winner, advised one national FFA officer and three national FFA star recipients. More recently, Beams has shared his knowledge with others by partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education to create an educational video for teacher use.
Following his tenure as a teacher, Beams took a position with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education as an Agricultural Education Program Specialist. In this role, he worked to create an application template for technology grants for teachers and programs he supervised. His efforts resulted in many successful grants for teachers in southwest Oklahoma.
In his current role as superintendent at Ripley Public Schools, Beams continues to support students both in and out of the classroom. He has served as the announcer for many cattle shows over the past 15 years and frequently volunteers his auctioneering skills to a variety of agricultural activities. He is also a member of several professional organizations and serves as an ambassador for the Central Rural Electric Cooperative in Stillwater, Okla.
Most of Hanson’s 34-year teaching career was spent at Willmar High School where, as department chair, Hanson helped the agriculture program grow from three teachers to five. He also taught Farm Management, Soils, and Crop Production at Willmar Community College (Ridgewater College) for ten years.
Since his retirement in 2000, Hanson has been the coordinator of the Minnesota FFA Career Development Events. He organizes all aspects of the events, obtains judges, and announces the results during FFA State Convention. Hanson also serves as a teacher mentor for the University of Minnesota. Since 2001, he has mentored 28 teachers during their first year as agricultural education instructors. Hanson visits the new teachers’ classrooms and attends professional development seminars with them to help them transition into their role as agriculture teachers.
Hanson has been an active member of NAAE for 39 years, previously receiving the NAAE Region III Outstanding Teacher Award.
Proffitt-Rowland has placed a high priority on service to agricultural education and related professional organizations during her 25 year career as an agricultural educator. As an active member of the Missouri Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association (MVATA), she has held every area, district and state office available, including president. Additionally, she has served on numerous regional and state committees. Her willingness to help led to assisting with planning of the NAAE national convention, when Hurricane Katrina necessitated an emergency move of the conference from New Orleans to Kansas City. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Proffitt-Rowland has served as the MVATA Executive Treasurer since 2007. In this role, she handles the collection and distribution of dues for more than 400 MVATA members, as well as coordinating financial management for the organization.
“Pam also believes in the importance of encouraging other teachers and recognizing accomplishments,” said Eugene Meyer, who nominated Proffitt-Rowland for the award.
Proffitt-Rowland has made it a point to nominate teachers and other supporters for the NAAE Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Cooperation, and Outstanding Service Citation awards for the past four years. Many of her nominations have resulted in regional winners and recognition for the good work of others on behalf of agricultural education.
Wilson has been involved in agricultural education almost his entire life. Starting as an FFA member in 1953, he went on to serve as a South Carolina FFA State Officer and attend Clemson University to receive a Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in Agricultural Education. He served in the Air Force and worked with Goodyear Service Stores and Sears before settling down in the classroom for 33 years. Now in retirement, Wilson continues to stay active in agricultural education whenever possible. He is always available to answer questions, volunteers as a judge and chaperone, and even donated his vehicle to his former FFA chapter to use on trips.
“He is consulted about FFA projects from advisors and students and is always on the go to help,” Barry Hawkins, who nominated Wilson for the award, said. “They call, he goes.”
Wilson has been recognized for his accomplishments by many organizations, receiving the Honorary American FFA Degree, the Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher award from NAAE, and the South Carolina Association of Agricultural Educators Mentor of the Year award. More important to him, however, are the accomplishments of students. Under his guidance, his students have received FFA degrees, competed in national FFA Career Development Events, and served as state FFA officers.
Since retirement and beyond his help with the local agriculture program, Wilson stays active with his church, serves as a Gideon speaker, and has had the opportunity to travel internationally as a short term missionary.
A former agricultural educator, Dr. Baker has been an advocate for agriculture throughout her career. During her time as an agriculture teacher, Baker increased enrollment in her school’s program from 18 to more than 100 members. She also developed a mentoring program for the Pennsylvania Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (now known as the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators).
Dr. Baker is currently partner and Chief Operating Officer of Versant Strategies, a public affairs firm in Pennsylvania that focuses on agriculture and rural issues. Before joining Versant Strategies, Dr. Baker was the agricultural education coordinator for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. As the agricultural education coordinator, Baker formed the nation’s first certified veterinary assistant program at the secondary level through collaboration with Dauphin County Technical School and the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Baker also currently serves as an adjunct professor in the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Baker has been active within NAAE, serving as the first female national president in 1996-1997. She also has received the NAAE Ideas Unlimited Award and the NAAE Outstanding Young Member Award.