Awards

National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Awards

Enthusiastic, motivated, inspiring. these are just a few words that describe an Outstanding Teacher. The NAAE Outstanding Teacher Awards go to agriculture teachers that have kept a tradition of excellence in their program along with the inborn love for agriculture.

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All Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award pictures from 2013 NAAE Convention (For news releases, see each individual's information on this page.)

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Region I
Allyson Lammiman
Douglas High School
Minden, NV

news release

Lammiman has been teaching agriculture at Douglas High School since 2005.  Partnering with her school's science department, Lammiman is able to offer some of her agriculture courses as a science credit, providing opportunities for more students to enroll in her classes. The school's science teacher gets involved in the agriculture program by serving as co-advisor for the FFA chapter.

Embracing the area's diverse agriculture, Lammiman also recruits volunteers from the community to coach FFA teams, teach the students to train horses, provide placements for the individualized work experience internship course, and help students raise livestock.

Lammiman bases her teaching philosophy on the FFA motto, "Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve." Hands-on courses let students apply in-class lessons to real-life situations. Using performance-based assessments instead of the traditional exams assessments, Lammiman teaches her students how to think, instead of what to think. Her agriculture science class final is a job interview, where her students present a resume of the skills they gained in the class and interview their way out of class. "The only time in life there is a multiple choice test is at a fast food restaurant," she said. "Agriculture is a part of every American citizen's life, whether as a consumer, producer, or any role in between. Agricultural education will strengthen my students' literacy, math and science skills; because they will be able to apply these skills to real-life scenarios. In this environment students will build on their knowledge base, technical skills, problem solving abilities, and life skills so they are better prepared for their chosen path."

Lammiman also personally values learning, and points to her recent participation in the DuPont Agriscience Teacher Ambassador program as an excellent educational and professional networking opportunity. As an Ambassador she has taught workshops on inquiry-based agriscience locally, state-wide and nationally.

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Region II
Kathy Conerly
Zachary High School
Zachary, Louisiana

news release

Kim O'Byrne Conerly has taught agriculture at Zachary High School for 32 years, and has been a force for keeping her agricultural education program at the forefront of rigorous, relevant education during that time. Her involvement with agriscience began well over a decade ago, driven by the need to raise test scores in specific areas on science tests. Conerly took the charge, and procured grants to upgrade facilities and equipment make the move to a science-focused agriculture program. However, it wasn't until she served as a DuPont Agriscience Ambassador, she says, that everything came together and her students really began to achieve. She credits the turn-around to her training through that program in inquiry-based learning- a teaching method that uses questioning techniques, problem-solving activities, and student-directed learning to deliver concepts.

"Students understood the why and were allowed to experiment with different approaches and offer ideas and improvements," said Conerly. "It wasn't just the outcome that was evaluated, but the process of getting to the final step."

The Zachary school system has been the top performing school system in Louisiana for the last seven years, and math and science scores have risen dramatically, thanks in no small part to Conerly's agriscience classes and inquiry-based instruction techniques.

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Region III
Barbara Lemmer
Linn-Mar High School
Marion, Iowa

news release

Lemmer has been teaching agriculture for 31 years, and has been teaching at Linn-Mar High School since 2004.  Since she came to Linn-Mar, enrollment in the agricultural education program has increased 300 percent. Lemmer currently teaches 225 students in 9th-12th grade and keeps a waiting list of nearly 100 students who want to take her classes. Her classes revolve around on hands-on, inquiry-based learning that helps students draw the connection between what they learn in the classroom and the world around them. Lemmer also embraces technology, using multimedia presentations to help her students master difficult concepts, and publishing class materials online so students have 24/7 access.

Lemmer's program focuses on using agriscience to prepare college and career ready students. All of her courses help students fulfill high school graduation requirements in either science or financial literacy. Starting next school year, two of her classes will be dual credit certified, allowing students who pass them to receive college elective credit. The hands-on, inquiry-based learning Lemmer incorporates into her classes help students to develop the higher order cognitive skills that post-secondary institutions and industry are demanding.

To help other teachers understand how to integrate inquiry-based learning into their agriscience classrooms, Lemmer became a DuPont National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador in 2004, and gives workshops around the U.S. that show first-hand how to engage students effectively in the areas of agriculture-based science and math.

"Agricultural education is a perfect example of complexities, understanding of which requires knowledge of multiple fields of studies," said Lemmer. "In our current society, many people do not realize the impact agriculture has on their lives and the environment. I strive to instill the importance of agriculture and encourage my students to have an appreciation for those who work in the industry of agriculture."

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Region IV
Travis Schere
Tri-County High School
Wolcott, Indiana

news release

Scherer has been teaching agriculture since 2001, including two courses that qualify for class credit at Purdue University. Along with the traditional resources of an agriculture program - a shop, greenhouse, land and animal labs and school garden, Scherer keeps his program current by using a wind turbine and solar panel to teach lessons in sustainable energy. The wind industry is growing in the area around Wolcott, and to give students a leg-up in this field, he has implemented lessons about alternative energy into all of his classes.

But it's not just what Scherer is teaching- it's how he's teaching it. "Experiential learning is needed for all students enrolled in the agricultural education program," Scherer said. "I have been able to implement some form of experiential learning for all students enrolled in Tri-County agriculture classes."

Experiential learning moves the focus from teacher-led lectures and presentations to student-led discovery of information. Typically, the teacher poses a question or topic, and helps guide the students toward learning outcomes.

Scherer learned about inquiry-based learning when he participated in the DuPont National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy and the DuPont National Agriscience Integration Institute. Both have also helped him develop his agriscience curriculum and trained him to help other teachers implement agriscience as well. Scherer has led numerous state and national teacher workshops to help other teachers implement STEM concepts and inquiry-based learning in their own programs. Â Besides his service as an Agriscience Teacher Ambassador, Scherer has also participated in multiple professional development opportunities through his involvement in the Indiana Association of Agricultural Educators and the NAAE.

"In all my interactions I have grown as a professional. I have not been looking out for my best interests, but the interests of all programs in the state of Indiana and all students that walk in an agriculture classroom," Scherer said.

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Region V
Robert Bollier
Cheraw High School
Cheraw, South Carolina

news release

Douglas Latta Bollier has been the agriculture teacher at Cheraw High School since 2005. His teaching philosophy is based around the 3 R's: Rigor, Relevance and Results. Bollier designs his curriculum to be rigorous enough to make his students competitive in the job market after high school by emphasizing not only the results of a project, but the process it takes to achieve those results.

"By incorporating my 3 R's: rigor, relevance and results, my students will be successful in their future endeavors," Bollier said.

Always on the lookout for new and interesting ideas for in-class labs, Bollier has compiled a book titled "From the Kitchen Cabinet" that is a volume of low-cost activities that students can conduct using household items. He also emphasizes inquiry-based learning in his classroom, which is a style of instruction that asks questions and helps guide students to find their own answers, rather than feeding them information through lectures or presentations. Since incorporating this type of instruction into his classes, Bollier has noticed more of his students looking for college degrees and future career paths in research and experimentation.

Bollier is also very active in helping other teachers implement inquiry-based learning into their own classrooms. He is a National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador, which has given him the opportunity to present in-services to fellow teachers at the national FFA and NAAE conventions.

"By being able to help other teachers, I believe, we are able to keep teachers in our profession," Bollier said.

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Region VI
Tara Berescik
Tri-Valley Central School
Grahamsville, New York

news release

Bethany Knowlton Berescik has been teaching agriculture for 13 years. She currently teaches floral design, small animal care, anatomy and physiology, food science, domesticated and wildlife science, environmental science, youth leadership development, international agriculture and introduction to agriculture. She has created a dynamic, science-based curriculum that gives her students opportunities to conduct research projects where they experience hands-on agriscience. Floriculture, landscaping, small animal care, and environmental science are all facets of agriculture in the community where she teaches. Her curriculum is designed to teach her students agriscience skills in those industries, so they are prepared to enter the local workforce.

In 2007, after many years of collaboration, Berescik, along with agriculture teachers from California and Florida, developed a plant and food science curriculum for Cornell University's Good Agricultural Practices program. She has given numerous workshops to teachers across the country about the curriculum and provides it at no cost.

Berescik has traveled all over the United States to develop her agriscience background, participating in numerous professional development activities, and also works with local agriculturalist to broaden her knowledge on specific subjects.

"My program would not be where it is today without the growth I have had professionally," Berescik said.

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