RICHMOND, Va. — Chris Kniesly, Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom 2019 Teacher of the Year, is one of eight 2019 recipients of the National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture award, presented by the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit.
Recipients were recognized for the innovative ways they use agricultural concepts in teaching.
Kniesly, who teaches science at Mark Twain Middle School in Alexandria, has established a school farm where students tend and study chickens, grow hydroponic lettuce, raise crayfish and cultivate mushrooms. Related lessons provide students with an environmentally conscious introduction to agricultural concepts.
“The Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award is the pinnacle achievement for teachers who integrate agriculture literacy into their classrooms,” noted Tammy Maxey, Virginia AITC senior education manager and NAITCO president-elect. “Chris uses agriculture concepts throughout his science classes to provide students with real-life applications connecting science and animal and plant life. His program is enlightening students to the need for agriculture and exciting them about future careers. We are proud to have Chris representing Virginia as a state and national winner.”
In June, the award recipients will be honored at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Little Rock, Ark.
NAITCO is a nonprofit organization representing Agriculture in the Classroom programs in most of the 50 states. Its mission is to educate teachers and students about the importance of agriculture by providing them with web-based materials, workshops and award programs that demonstrate how agriculture can be used to effectively teach core subject areas.
The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a nonprofit organization that receives financial and administrative support from Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
— Virginia Farm Bureau Federation