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.

All Lifetime Achievement Award photos from the 2012 NAAE Convention. (For news releases, see individual entries below)

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Region I
James Cooney
Elko, Nevada

news release

Cooney began his career in 1975 at a school in Buhl, Idaho. In 1977, he moved his career to Elko High School, where he taught until he retired in 2005. In 2008, Cooney came out of retirement to teach at Spring Creek High School in Spring Creek, Nev. He continues to serve as a substitute for agriculture classes at several high schools in Elko County.

Cooney’s career can be characterized by his many accomplishments as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor. In his 30 years as an agriculture teacher, he trained 10 national Gold Emblem Career Development Event teams, 20 national Silver Emblem Career Development Event teams, and 32 national Bronze Emblem Career Development Event teams. In 1993, he coached the national winning Agriculture Sales Career Development Event team. His FFA chapter received 29 national chapter awards and 11 national Gold Emblem proficiency awards. Throughout his career, 242 of his students have received their Nevada State FFA Degrees, 62 received their American FFA Degrees, and 50 became Nevada State FFA Officers.

Since his retirement, Cooney has continued to be an advocate for agricultural education. He served as a registered lobbyist for both the Nevada Agriculture Teachers Association and the Nevada Association for Career and Technical Education. His efforts resulted in the passage of legislation which secured 4 million dollars per year in line item funding for Nevada Career and Technical Education programs.

Cooney has been an active member of the NAAE, the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Nevada Association for Career and Technical Education, and the Nevada Agriculture Teacher’s Association for 37 years. He currently serves as a board member, public policy committee member, and legislative lobbyist for the NACTE. Cooney is also a National FFA Alumni Life member. Since 2006, he has served as the Nevada State Agricultural Mechanics Contest Chairman.

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Region II
David Maxey
Lenapah, Oklahoma

news release

Dr. Richard Weber photo

Maxey was an agriculture teacher for 30 years at Ralston Public Schools and Oklahoma Union Public Schools. During his career, he hosted many professional development workshops for Oklahoma agriculture teachers. The workshops covered a variety of topics, including horse judging, soil and water, entomology, land judging, cattle grading, and agricultural mechanics. Maxey also spent many hours mentoring teachers about award applications, teaching resources, and livestock selection. Aside from helping other teachers, he concentrated most of his time on his students. Maxey trained 75 state-winning Career Development Event teams and three national champion Career Development teams throughout the course of his career. He also mentored four Oklahoma FFA state officer candidates, two of which were selected as state officers.

“I know if you asked an agricultural educator in Oklahoma, they would say David was quick to help when asked,” said Kevin Stacy, agriculture teacher at Oklahoma Union High School. “He had no secrets about how he did things.”

Maxey was also a member of several community boards. He used his insight as an agriculture teacher to help guide livestock show boards, local agriculture boards, and cattleman association boards. Maxey also served several years as the Swine and Sheep Superintendent at the Nowata County Spring Livestock Show.

Maxey has been honored with many awards throughout his career. In 2004, he received the Northeast District Outstanding Agricultural Educator award. He was also awarded the Honorary State Farmer award by the Oklahoma FFA Association, the Point of Light award by the Oklahoma Union Elementary and PTO, and was recognized as an Outstanding Teacher Mentor by the Oklahoma Agriculture Education Teacher Association.

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Region III
Duane Fisher
Mt. Auburn, Iowa

news release

Dr. Richard Carter

Fisher taught agriculture at Vinton-Shellsburg High School for 37 years before retiring in 2010. During his career, he was valuable asset to the Vinton-Shellsburg School District as well as the agricultural education community at large. With Fisher’s guidance, the Vinton FFA Chapter produced two Iowa state FFA presidents, numerous other state and district officers, 112 state FFA degree recipients, and 18 American FFA degree recipients. In addition to his high school program, Fisher also taught continuing education classes for 25 years and started an eighth-grade exploratory agriculture class. Throughout his teaching career, he was an active member of various local school committees.

Professionally, Fisher spent his career as an advocate for agricultural education. In the mid-1980’s, he was part of a committee that began the Iowa FFA Foundation. Fisher also helped to organize the special fundraiser, Sharing with Pride, a multi-year giving program designed to increase the general fund for the Iowa FFA Foundation. Fisher was also an annual contributor to the Iowa FFA Foundation for 25 years and served as an executive sponsor to the National FFA Foundation for 16 years.

Fisher has been an active member of the NAAE, the Iowa Association of Agricultural Educators, the Association of Career and Technical Education, and the Iowa Association of Career and Technical Education for 39 years. He is involved with the Iowa Farm Bureau, Pork Producers, and Beef Producers. Fisher is also a lifetime member of the FFA Alumni Association, the Iowa State Alumni Association, Gamma Sigma Delta, Alpha Zeta, and Phi Kappa Phi.

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Region IV
Terry Heiman
Russellville, Missouri

news release

Heiman is described by his nominator as the person who has had the most positive impact on Missouri agricultural education, FFA, and Missouri agricultural educators in the past 39 years. Heiman taught agriculture at the high school and junior college level for five years before joining the Missouri Department of Education state staff as a District Supervisor in 1978. In 1984, Heiman became the State Director of Agricultural Education and held the position until his retirement in 2011. Under his direction, agricultural education enrollment has blossomed from 13,000 students in 1985 to more than 26,000 last year from over 300 high schools and 12 community colleges.

“He positively impacted not only individual FFA members, programs, and teachers, but fought hard in the Department of Education to keep Missouri ag education growing and strong,” said Pam Proffitt-Rowland, an agriculture teacher in Doniphan, Mo. “His impact on the success of ag education in Missouri is immeasurable.”

“Terry has spent a career of making sure FFA members, Young Farmers, and PAS students get recognized for their achievements, making sure agriculture instructors are honored and recognized for the work they do with students, and making sure his staff members are rewarded and appreciated for their dedication to the job,” said Dr. Norman Rohrbach, in his retirement salute to Dr. Heiman.


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Region V
Wilbur Chancellor
Ackerman, Mississippi

news release

 Chancellor started teaching agricultural mechanics at the Choctaw County Vocational Center in 1976. In order to prevent an agriculture program from closing in 1980 at Ackerman High School, Chancellor stepped up and split his teaching time between the schools until a replacement teacher could be found. Eventually an FFA chapter was chartered at the Choctaw County Vocation Center and has been active ever since.

“It is because of Wilbur’s tireless spirit and dedication that FFA chapters are present in these rural Mississippi communities today,” said Josh Davenport, an agriscience teacher at Booneville High School.

Soon after retiring from 25 years of teaching at Choctaw - two months to be exact; Chancellor came out of retirement to work at the Mississippi Department of Education. Since 2000, Chancellor has assumed the titles and duties of State FFA Advisor, State Supervisor of Secondary Agriculture and Related Technology Programs, and State FFA Coordinator. In June 2012, Chancellor retired for the last time, from his last position as the State FFA Advisor. For all of his dedication to agricultural education and the FFA organization over the years, Chancellor has received his Lifetime Membership from the National FFA Alumni Association, Mississippi Honorary State Degree, and the Honorary American Degree from the National FFA Organization.

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Region VI
Ronald Frederick
Blue Ball, Pennsylvania

news release

Dr. William Camp

Frederick was an agriculture teacher for 35 years at Twin Valley High School in Elverson, Pa. During his time at Twin Valley, Frederick grew the program into what it is today. In 1969, with 45 students who had little background in agriculture, he saw a need to change the traditional, production-oriented program and added courses in natural resources, aquaculture and horticulture. These new curriculums were shared with teachers across the state. The program grew to 150 students with the addition of these new classes, and then grew again to 300 with the hiring of a second agriculture teacher and a school renovation. Frederick oversaw the design of the new agriculture department, and added an agricultural mechanics lab, an animal room, and aquaculture lab to enhance the student learning experience.

Frederick has remained active in agricultural education, even after his retirement from teaching in 2004. He currently coordinates FFA activities for eastern Pennsylvania by organizing spring and fall Career Development Event days. Over 400 eastern Pennsylvania students compete in CDEs aimed to prepare them for future careers in agriculture.

Frederick is also on the committee to develop the National FFA Vet Science CDE, which launched its first competition in October at the National FFA Convention. Through Penn State, Frederick is also responsible for organizing a New and Beginning Agriculture Teachers workshop that is held each fall to better prepare new hires for their career as an agriculture teacher. This attracts new and beginning teachers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.

“As a third year teacher I submitted an idea for a pumpkin growing contest to our state PAAE Ideas Unlimited competition and won. This was the first of many ideas that I shared,” said Frederick. “My motto - sharing makes us all better teachers and improves all of our programs.”

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