Outstanding Cooperation Awards


The Outstanding Cooperation Award is presented to organizations, agribusinesses, industry or individuals that have provided exemplary service to agricultural education at the national level. This year's award recipients contributed their time, their talents, and in some case their finances to ensure the success of agricultural education.

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Region I
Monica McMackin
Stevens County Conservation District
Colville, Washington

McMackin is the Special Projects Coordinator for the Stevens County Conservation District (SCCD).  SCCD is a supporter of not only Washington’s FFA chapters, but also of the Washington Association of Agriculture Teachers (WAAE). 

Every other year the SCCD hosts the Washington State Forestry Career Development Event (CDE) contest.  McMackin helps make sure SCCD creates all the tests and scenarios, finds judges, and upholds industry standards throughout the contest.  As well as the state forestry contest, the SDCC also hosts the state land judging contest on a rotational basis.  McMackin also oversees that entire process.  Each judge is prepared ahead of time to ensure that things smoothly as possible for the agriculture teachers and students.

"We always look forward to attending an event that SCCD hosts because we know that the event will be organized, fair, and consistent for our students to participate in,” said one Washington agriculture teacher. Not only does the SCCD host contests, they also have developed a website to help students explore forestry, soils, water and the environment.  The website also includes maps of counties with details of what species live in the area.

Region II
Dale Jackson
DJ Fundraising
Clayton, Oklahoma

Dale DeWitt

Jackson has been involved in the Oklahoma Agricultural Education Teachers Association (OAETA) through DJ Fundraising, a Texas-based sausage fundraising business.  DJ’s overall business goal is to provide a profitable fundraiser for all organizations.  FFA chapters throughout the state of Oklahoma sell the line of merchandise offered by DJ’s Fundraising.  Many DJ’s sales representatives are former agriculture teachers and can relate to the needs of the FFA chapters.

Jackson’s passion for agricultural education in Oklahoma has inspired him to work with OAETA to increase the number and caliber of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Outstanding Teachers award applicants.  DJ’s awards a new pair of boots worth up to $500.00 to each outstanding teacher in the 24 professional improvement (PI) areas designated by Oklahoma.  These award recipients are selected by the PI teachers from each group.  Applications are submitted, judged, and the Outstanding Teachers for the five state districts are selected.  As well as sponsoring the boots, DJ’s also sponsors plaques and trophies for OAETA events.  These award incentives have helped to increase OAETA participation, even resulting in Oklahoma winning the Region II Outstanding Teacher award for the past two years.

DJ’s is also very active in many other organizations in the Clayton community.  These include the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, Committee for Water Resources in Southwest Oklahoma, Homecoming committee, and Pushmataha Livestock Committee.  They provide food to banquets, and help with community service projects.

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Region III
Darlene Arneson
Wisconsin Agriculture in the Classroom

Madison, Wisconsin

Steve DeWitt

Arneson has been the Coordinator of the Wisconsin Agriculture in the Classroom, a sector of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, since 2004.  She works with teachers and volunteers to provide agricultural education resources for all grade levels that help to increase the agricultural literacy rate in Wis.  Arneson coordinates county trainings to help these individuals develop their own Agriculture in the Classroom program, and administers funding for these through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture (WDA) trade and consumer protection program.  Her responsibilities also include staffing display booths for teacher conventions and trade shows, administering grants, teacher trainings, and development of new programs.    

Arneson is also a vital part of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni.  She began her Alumni involvement during her senior year at Verona High School by helping to form an alumni chapter.  She continued her support throughout college and throughout her teaching career by recruiting members and coordinating  fundraising activities.  She also was afforded the opportunity to serve as the Wisconsin FFA Alumni President and helped the state earn numerous awards for membership and activities.  Arneson also serves on the Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council, Wisconsin Environmental Education Board, and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation as Director.

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Region IV
Susie Raker
C. Raker and Sons, Inc.,

Litchfield, Michigan

C. Raker and Sons, Inc. (Raker) is a leading producer of grown-to-order plugs and liners of annual flowers, herbs, and vegetables through seed and vegetative propagation and epitomizes the term partnership in agricultural education.  This business serves Michigan agricultural education programs through a variety of services that enhance current programs.  Many Raker employees are knowledgeable about the things covered by FFA Career Development Events and serve as judges at district and regional leadership contests.  Raker also donates extra planting supplies to programs who conduct plant sales as fundraisers for FFA chapter activities like State FFA Convention.  In 2010, Raker gave more than 720 trays of plants to FFA chapters and to elementary schools for an annual planting day that encourages students to enjoy horticulture.  Raker truly believes its community should be connected to plants and does so by participating in contests aiming to educate people on plants, known as America in Bloom.  In this contest students are able to use skills learned in their agriculture courses to design and build flower beds, memorial dedications, and create educational programs.   Raker has also worked with the nearby Jonesville and Homer FFA chapters to design and build safe greenhouses in which the chapters can grow plants for their plant sales. 

To round out their extensive involvement in agricultural education programs, Raker also hosts a booth at the Michigan State FFA Convention to discuss career options with FFA members.  Raker even supports local agriculture teachers and professors by serving on advisory committees and creating opportunities for students.  One such opportunity is an internship program where high school students work part-time to gain work experience and college students intern to gain insight into the horticulture career field.  It is C. Raker and Sons, Inc. to use their business to enhance Michigan agricultural education programs. 

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Region V
Merry Mott
Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association,

Orlando, Florida

Mott is the Director of Certifications and Career Development for the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA).  She manages the link between FNGLA and Florida agricultural education programs to provide the FNGLA Certified Horticulture Professional (FCHP) program.  This program is approved by Workforce Florida and the Florida Department of Education as it abides by the 2007 Florida Career and Professional Education (CAPE) act.  This act aims to improve secondary academic performance through rigorous, relevant coursework that can be assessed through such outlets as industry certification exams, and meet Florida’s workforce needs of access to high-wage and high-demand careers.

Mott saw a need for preparation for industry certifications and worked to obtain a USDA Specialty Crop Grant to create and disperse lesson plans, sample tests, labs, and PowerPoint presentations through the website  This website is also used by teachers to become certified as well, expanding the scope of people who benefit from this program.

FNGLA representatives, such as Mott, attend the Florida FFA State Convention and Florida Association of Agricultural Educators (FAAE) events to promote the FCHP program and membership in FNGLA.  Students are also able to explore the horticulture career field by engaging with individuals such as Mott.  The FCHP program has been recognized by organizations such as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for its water conservation and best management practices for Florida’s Green industry.  The FCHP program continues to gain popularity and remain an effective tool in agricultural education programs throughout Florida.

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Region VI
Timothy Montondo
Ward's Natural Science,
West Henrietta, New York

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau

Montondo has been involved in the New York Association of Agricultural Educators (NYAAE) for the past 10 years through Ward’s Natural Science (Ward’s), a New York science education company, providing high quality educational materials for science-based classes since 1862.  His passion for science has inspired him to work with agriculture teachers to implement fun, effective curriculum into their programs.  Montondo contributes new ideas for lessons and creates partnerships to learn new teaching strategies on how to engage students to share with teachers.  He also works with NYAAE’s annual conference and the National FFA Organization’s annual convention as a presenter and workshop coordinator on behalf of Ward’s.  It is not uncommon for him to showcase hissing cockroaches and tropical millipedes at the FFA Exhibit Hall each year. His goal is to always excite students and teachers through his efforts as he believes agricultural education is the ideal outlet for his creative ideas. 

Montondo also understands the need for school administrations to see value in agricultural education programs.  He meets with administrators to discuss their needs, plans how he will help that program meet those needs, and then puts those plans into action.  Teachers look forward to seeing an email from him in their inbox as he always brings good news to their programs.  He also works with low-budget teacher to ensure they are able to conduct the lessons they want to by offering older, yet high quality merchandise that Ward’s can no longer sell.  Montondo is a true extension of the agricultural education profession as he has spent the last decade enhancing programs in the state of New York.

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