CROGHAN, N.Y. — The New York Association of Agricultural Educators, or NYAAE, held its Annual Business Meeting in conjunction with an awards ceremony on June 23. Nearly 170 agricultural educators from throughout New York joined virtually or in-person at the Oswegatchie Educational Center, New York’s FFA State Leadership Camp, where they immersed themselves in professional development, networking opportunities and leadership development.
The goal of the annual professional development conference is to enhance the quality of instructional programs for secondary agricultural educators through in-service education with activity based workshops that address the needs of our constantly changing agricultural and agriscience programs. Sessions are designed to both raise the scientific rigor of agricultural courses and provide middle, high, and postsecondary educators with new technologies and resources for their classrooms.
During the week-long hybrid conference, educators attended workshops facilitated by current agricultural educators, industry leaders and university representatives that ranged from better understanding precision agriculture, appreciating classroom diversity, utilizing OnShape for computer aided design, effectively implementing food science into class curriculum and educating students about livestock – without livestock.
Catie Rowe, Agricultural Education Program Specialist with New York Agricultural Education Outreach believes that it is the professional development and networking opportunities that bring people together for the conference each year. “Our annual NYAAE Conference is a celebration of the school year being completed, but more importantly gives our educators the chance to recharge and refocus for returning to classroom instruction each September. Ideas are shared amongst educators both formally in sessions and informally through meal time conversations, break times and social hours.” said Rowe. “We are grateful that we were able to safely bring our educators together for this year’s hybrid conference and hope that they each were able to take something home to better their classroom instruction for their students, communities and themselves.”
Due to the hybrid nature of the conference in 2021, the Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet were held in conjunction this year. During the meeting, Elizabeth Foote of Greenwich Junior-Senior High School was elected to serve as the 2021-2022 New York Association of Agricultural Educators President and Tri-Valley Central School Agriculture Teacher, Tara Berescik was elected as the President-Elect. Northern Adirondack Agricultural Educator Karen LaBombard completed her term as the association president.
Throughout the awards portion of the Annual Meeting, eight individuals and one agricultural program were recognized for their distinguished teaching.
Schuylerville High School Agricultural Science Teacher Mary-Elizabeth Foote was named the 2021 New York Outstanding Early Career Teacher. This award serves as a means of encouraging young teachers to remain in the profession and to motivate and recognize participation in professional activities.
Marcus Whitman Central School Agricultural Educator, Mary Coolbaugh, was named the 2021 Ideas Unlimited Winner. The Ideas Unlimited award is designed to give NYAAE members an opportunity to exchange classroom, SAE, leadership, and other teaching ideas.
David Marbot of Schoharie, New York has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the New York Association of Agricultural Educators. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes retired NYAAE members who have made significant contributions to agricultural education throughout New York State.
Dr. Jan Held-Woodworth was named the NYAAE Teacher Mentor. This award recognizes agricultural educators who serve as role models and mentors for early and beginning career teachers within agricultural education. Woodworth serves as an Associate Professor for Career and Technical Education at the State University of New York at Oswego.
NYAAE recognized retiring member Victoria Gregory with the Outstanding Service Citation. This award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to agricultural education. Throughout her career as the Agricultural Education Teacher at Afton Central School, Gregory has dedicated countless hours to her students and community, which has led her to pursue several leadership roles within the Otsego County Farm Bureau, Chenango County 4-H, Afton Alumni FFA Alumni and Supports, New York FFA Foundation, Unadilla Valley School Board, and Afton Teachers Association.
The Berne-Knox-Westerlo Agricultural Education program and its Agricultural Educator, Michaela Kehrer were recognized June 23 during the New York Association of Agricultural Educators, or NYAAE, Annual Business and Awards Meeting. Kehrer, who was hired in 2017 to restart the agricultural education program, was named the 2021 Outstanding Teacher by NYAAE. This award recognizes distinguished NYAAE members who are facilitating the highest quality agricultural education programs throughout New York State, especially educators who are engaged in leadership opportunities, the community as well as agricultural and professional activities. Berne-Knox-Westerlo’s agricultural education program was named the 2021 NYAAE Outstanding Middle/Secondary Program, which honors agricultural education programs that are providing students the skills necessary to be successful in their future career paths.
As a means of encouraging young teachers to remain in the profession and to encourage and recognize participation in professional activities, the National Association of Agricultural Educators, NAAE, offers the Teachers Turn the Key Scholarship for second, third or fourth year teachers. Rayne Ives of Remsen Central School has been named the 2021 New York Teachers Turn the Key Scholarship Recipient.
Retired South Jefferson Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor William Stowell received the 2021 Outstanding Cooperation award by the New York Association of Agricultural Educators. This honor is given by NYAAE to organizations, agribusiness companies and others who have given outstanding support to agricultural education.
Each award recipient had the opportunity to submit their application to the National Association of Agricultural Educators to be named the National Association of Agricultural Educators Region VI award honoree with the winners being recognized at the National Convention in New Orleans in December.
“On behalf of the New York Association of Agricultural Educators, we would like to wish all our award winners the best of luck as they move forward in the regional awards process. New York is honored to have you representing us on the regional and national levels!” said Elizabeth Foote, newly elected association president.
NAAE is the professional organization in the United States for agricultural educators, with NYAAE being a state affiliate. NAAE provides its more than 8,000 members with professional networking and development opportunities, professional liability coverage, and extensive awards and recognition programs. The mission of NAAE is “professionals providing agricultural education for the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy and service.”
–New York Association of Agricultural Educators