GROWING OUR FUTURE A TEXAS AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION MAGAZINE
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Leading with a Beginners Mindset
Mother/Son Teaching Duo Become First Known in Agricultural Education
2020-2021 Texas FFA Officers' Strategic Priorities
Hands-On Experiences for Distance Learners
Wieghat Graphics Play Essential Role in Texas Ag Education
College Station FFA Member Educates Public About Poultry SAE Through Instagram
Texas FFA Convention Reaches More Member Than Ever Before
Hands-On Learning Opportunities for Agricultural Education Students at West Texas A&M University
Professional Development Conference Provided Virtual Learning Opportunities for Members
From the Range
Better Days Are Ahead
Leadership Roles in Your School and Community
Leading Authentically During the Unknown
Leadership: Passion, Vision, And Style: How to Shuffle Into a Legacy
Texas FFA Alumni and Supporters Updates
Texas Young Farmers Updates Gowing Our Furture: A Texas Agricultural Education Magazine 614 East 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701 512-472-3128 Editor/Layout Designer/ Content Director Ashley Dunkerley Assistant Editor Tori Rosser Cover Photo Acquired from the My Texas FFA Project
BY: C L E O P H U S " C L E O " F R A N K L I N J R . A U T H O R O F “ C O F F E E W I T H C L E O ” A N D P R E S I D E N T / C E O , F R A N K L I N S T R AT E G I C S O L U T I O N S
LEADING WITH A BEGINNERS MINDSET “IF YOUR MIND IS EMPTY, IT IS ALWAYS READY FOR ANYTHING AND IS OPEN TO EVERYTHING. IN THE BEGINNER'S MIND THERE ARE MANY POSSIBILITIES, BUT IN THE EXPERT'S MIND THERE ARE FEW.” - SHUNRYU SUZUKI
n my new book, “Coffee With Cleo,” I detailed the importance of taking a perspective of looking at the world beyond what you see, but instead… take a view of the world as to what it can be. Taking this approach from leading a business to decision-making and dealing with everyday life challenges has positively changed how I approach my personal and business life. I found out that by incorporating this “beginner’s mindset” leadership approach whenever I faced a conundrum or difficult impasse, is when a world of unlimited possibilities and opportunities would unfold right before me, like an open field of colorful wildflowers blooming with radiance. I also value leaders who lead based on their experience and expertise. You may have heard of the expression “experience matters” and believe me it does. Why? As an executive with over 35 years leading organizations in the agriculture industry with Mahindra, Case-New Holland, and John Deere, I can personally attest to this saying’s validity. During my executive leadership tenure, I relied heavily on my past experiences to navigate industry downturns and more by tapping into my years of vast lessons learned from failures and success. However,
leading solely by experience are that it projects the future of a present outcome – based on what we have seen, learned and dealt with from the past… which lies the problem with this approach. Why? Because the issues we face today often require more than yesterday’s solutions and bring new challenges we have not anticipated, planned for, or expected. For example, how about COVID-19, hybrid classrooms, opening up public businesses with multiple safety and social distancing procedures to deal with an invisible virus, implementing tracking and tracing protocols, and working from home. The multitude of things I just described cannot be solved based on experience, because they are unprecedented and present realities our society has never faced before. New problems require new approaches and new thinking that the limitation of experience cannot adequately resolve. This is why I began this article with Suzuki’s quote. If you lead with a beginner’s mind, you are not hampered by the predisposition of what has happened. Instead, you are guided by the possibilities of what could be unknown to the experiences of the past.
I am not advocating that leading with experience does not matter. I am making the point while doing so. Leaders must embrace of others’ input and actively seek
“LEADERS WHO SEEK OUT NEW INPUTS, VARIED PERSPECTIVES, AND DIVERSE POINTS OF VIEWS TO INFLUENCE THEIR DECISIONS ARE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL, AS THEY LOOK AT THE WORLD WITH AN OPEN MIND AND AVOID GOING IT ALONE.”
diverse/new points of view to counterbalance the aspects that expertise and experience do not cover, especially in our global, hyper-competitive, fastpaced, and new emerging technology-dependent world. Coupled with navigating the unprecedented and new realities of COVID-19. Again, designing, developing, and delivering new solutions for new problems - require a new thinking and leadership approach beyond lessons of the past, but with the inclusion of a beginner’s unbridled curiosity and anticipation of what tomorrow could be.
My team’s recommendation and implementation, although innovative - produced record market share growth, delivered increased revenues and profits, but also delivered a new groundbreaking product portfolio strategy to this day, continues to perform well in the market. The second team struggled, did not see any market share or revenue growth, and experienced a continued decline in customer satisfaction. In the end, they were strongly encouraged to collaborate with us, shift their mindset, adopt our approach, and apply it to their product line.
For example, once in my career, I was asked to lead a team to help turn around a business segment that was struggling with two series of product lines of tractors. Both series experienced increased market competitiveness, decreasing market share, revenue loss, and declining customer satisfaction. To tackle this problem, it was decided we would form two teams and assign each the responsibility to design, develop, and deliver a turnaround strategy for each product line business. I was asked to lead one of the teams, and below is a summary of what happened.
Experience is a collection of information acquired over a lifetime containing a repository of expertise based on a rearview mirror point of view. It provides us the knowledge we can rely on, but only based on the past. Leaders who seek out new inputs, varied perspectives, and diverse points of views to influence their decisions are the most successful, as they look at the world with an open mind and avoid going it alone.
The team I led was a collaboration and mix of people within the company across every functional area and consultants from outside the organization.
Throughout my leadership career, I lead with a beginner’s mindset. I do not just rely on what I know, but embrace what I don’t know, seek out what I may have missed, and manage my past presumptions of expertise with an open mind.
Bringing in outsiders was unheard of at the time. However, we wanted to approach this challenge with a fresh view to frame the problem from several perspectives, take inputs from every business area, and pursue a non-traditional creative approach to the problem.
That is why I marvel at the Millennials and Gen-Zs our next generation of leaders. They are not afraid to challenge how things have been done in the past while approaching life with an open mind-set different from the segment of Gen-X’ers and Baby Boomers. Moving forward, I feel this perspective is needed to identify new problems, bring bolder solutions, and a fresh perspective on life, leadership, and business that will not happen without this youth segment’s unique points of view. Because as leaders, we are expected to bring our best, perform at the highest, and be ready to do even more and getting it right matters.
The second team, which had more industry experience than mine, scoffed at our new approach and led their process with the same tried and true methods with a team that only comprised internal company members with limited participation for other business functions. My team embraced best practices, collaboration, and actively sought out lessons learned from different industries and benchmarks from other business segments. We also created an inclusive process to include representatives from the second team to view, share, and exchange our learnings.
Why does this matter? When leaders make a decision, they often do not have the luxury or option of hitting backspace, delete, and correct. Because the new dynamic challenges we face today and tomorrow will require getting it right with leaders who lead with respecting, but properly framing the value of experience while embracing a beginner’s mindset.
The second team kept their strategy development close to their vest, didn’t openly participate with my team, constantly questioned our findings, saw a problem with every solution, and emphatically let us know they were going it alone.
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BY: E R I N ( S CH RO E D E R ) S H AW WHEELER HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR
MOTHER/SON TEACHING DUO BECOME FIRST KNOWN IN
n Texas, our agricultural education community often refers to ourselves as the “ag-ed family,” but for two of our Texas ag teachers, kinship takes that statement to another dimension.
son brings to the table, both in youthful energy and exuberance as well as the skills and talents unique to him.
“I think we make a fantastic team,” said Renita. “He is actually less of a control freak Last year, Renita Schroeder and than I am, and his students John Mark Schroeder became flourish as he allows more the first known mother/son collaboration and input.” agricultural science teaching partners in Texas and possibly Like any relationship, a strong the nation. foundation of mutual respect goes a long way. John Mark “I have childhood flashbacks appreciates his mother’s when I hear her shout ‘clean tenure in the classroom and up’ in the shop or ‘get that the wisdom and knowledge head up’ in the show barn,” she has accumulated through John Mark joked. “It takes me the years. back to growing up, and all the hours we spent together in the “The experiences I had and Madisonville ag department.” the mentors I gained from being ‘Mrs. Schroeder‘s tagA shared passion for a career along’ are experiences most they love led the duo to first-year ag teachers can only Normangee High School. dream of,” said John Mark. “It is an advantage I get to take “I’ve always had great respect to work with me every day.” for my mom’s knowledge and drive, but most people thought This advantage has paid off. I would’ve followed my father’s The Schroeder and Schroeder coaching career instead,” team proved to be a good said John Mark. “They both combination last year when instilled the love for the other it came to competitive FFA side of education in me. The events. The small chapter in place outside of the traditional Area IX had its Public Relations classroom where relationships team and both Greenhand and with students are formed and Senior Chapter Conducting where students can succeed teams qualify for the Texas FFA with hard work and tenacity.” State Leadership Development Event Finals. Self-described as “old school,” Renita celebrates what her “I can still say I have the best
“BOTH SCHROEDER'S AGREE THERE IS FREEDOM, TRANSPARENCY, AND HONESTY IN WORKING WITH SOMEONE WHO TRULY LOVES YOU AND WANTS TO SEE YOU AND YOUR STUDENTS SUCCEED AS MUCH AS YOU DO.”
job in the world, and now I have the best teaching partner anyone could ask for,” said Renita. “It’s every parent’s desire to see their child flourish and contribute positively to the world, and I suppose it is truly the greatest compliment to see them want to follow in your footsteps. I have a frontrow seat to observe that every day and to say his dad and I are proud is an understatement.” Both Schroeder's agree there is freedom, transparency, and honesty in working with someone who truly loves you and wants to see you and your
students succeed as much as you do. “It is amazing to see everything she had done behind the scenes to make everything work even when she had four kids of her own,” said John Mark. “I don’t even want to think about the day she does retire because not only will I lose having the person who knows me best, but the state of Texas will lose one of the best ag teachers of all time. I only hope that I am half as good of a teacher, coach, and mentor as she is.”
“THE EXPERIENCES I HAD AND THE MENTORS I GAINED FROM BEING ‘MRS. SCHROEDER‘S TAG-ALONG’ ARE EXPERIENCES MOST FIRST-YEAR AG TEACHERS CAN ONLY DREAM OF. IT IS AN ADVANTAGE I GET TO TAKE TO WORK WITH ME EVERY DAY.”
TEXAS LIVESTOCK SHOWS
FOR YOUR CONTINUED PASSION FOR STUDENTS AND AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION DURING THESE UNPRECEDENTED 7 TIMES.
B Y: T H E T E X A S F FA O F F I C E R S
2020-2021 TEXAS FFA OFFICERS' STRATEGIC PRIORITIES
s state officers, our job is to serve our great organization and the members within it. We are making a concerted effort to communicate information and updates discussing the various programs and initiatives our state association and leadership are working towards.
Agriculture Industry Opportunities: This committee will focus on providing chances for members to further explore various agriculture industry opportunities and to bridge the gap between production agriculture and the general public through promoting various sectors of the industry.
Our Vision Statement
Building Relationships While Remaining Resilient: This committee will focus on bridging the gap between state officers and chapter officers by establishing authentic relationships despite these challenging times.
For the upcoming year, our team has developed a statement to guide us through the decisions and actions we must make. Our team’s vision statement reads, “We will ensure that everyone has a seat at our table by empowering individuals to maximize their potential, celebrate differences, and remain resilient.”
Celebrating Differences: This committee will focus on celebrating FFA members' differences by collecting information and striving to provide resources to accommodate members of all cultural backgrounds, learning and physical adversities, and socioeconomic statuses.
In many ways, this has directed the creation of our strategic priorities aimed at enhancing member experiences in FFA on the chapter, district, area, and state level.
Maximize Student Potential: This committee will focus on maximizing the potential of FFA members by collecting information on member development needs and providing resources specific to that data.
Our Strategic Priorities A strategic priority is a certain issue or item of business which the current state officer team finds should be evaluated or addressed. We set these priorities to advance our organization and to better fulfill the needs of the Texas FFA members.
As a team, we look forward to the growth we will experience alongside you all this year. We are excited to work towards the achievement of these priorities, and we hope you thoroughly enjoy your year with Texas FFA.
Below, we’ve outlined our strategic priorities for this year. We hope to keep you informed regarding progress over the next few months.
DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN REWATCH THE SESSIONS, WORKSHOPS AND EXHIBITOR SHOWCASES ON DEMAND?! MEMBERS WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS ALL VIDEOS YEAR-ROUND AT CONFERENCE.TEXASAGTEACHERS.ORG. *THE ASSOCIATION ONLY OFFERING CPE HOURS FOR THIS CONTENT UNTIL 8/31/2020.
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BY: C L AY TO N F R A N K L I N ICEV EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
HANDS-ON EXPERIENCES FOR DISTANCE LEARNERS
hile the transition to online or hybrid learning poses challenges for all educators, agricultural education teachers are tasked with a particularly difficult order. The concepts taught in an agricultural classroom often require labs, outdoor settings, or specialized materials. Engagement in active and interpersonal learning experiences at home is challenging, especially since students typically do not have equitable access to necessary resources.
relate to agriculture,” said Cade Wilson, an agricultural teacher at Brownwood ISD. By capitalizing on various resources and technology, teachers can foster conducive, hands-on learning experiences for students at a distance. Below are several methods for developing hands-on projects and activities for online or hybrid courses. Use What You Have When teaching hands-on concepts in an online agricultural class, keep the lessons simple. Items such as socks, a rock, leaves, and food items can easily be found around students’ homes. If you have the resources, pick a couple of projects and assemble supply kits for each student using inexpensive materials from your local dollar store.
Nonetheless, skill-based learning in an agricultural setting is imperative for college and career readiness. Agricultural teachers are striving to maintain quality instruction in hands-on courses without relying on traditional classroom resources. Without their typical class structure, agricultural teachers may struggle to find alternative ways to provide their students with a handson learning environment from their homes.
For example, when teaching a reproductive unit, have students construct a model of an animal's reproductive tract using a rolledup sock for the ovaries and macaroni for the uterine horn. Or the entire model could be composed of homemade playdough. Spice it up by using playdough made with KoolAid to add scent and color.
“Agriculture is inherently hands-on, and agricultural education is no different. I mean, learning by doing is our motto. Although virtual learning has made this difficult, we still believe hands-on learning is vital to understanding concepts that
Use Your Resources
“BY CAPITALIZING ON VARIOUS RESOURCES AND TECHNOLOGY, TEACHERS CAN FOSTER CONDUCIVE, HANDSON LEARNING EXPERIENCES FOR STUDENTS AT A DISTANCE.”
Embrace online resources and agricultural education networking opportunities. Connect with your fellow educators through online discussion forums and dedicated social media channels for tips, tricks, lesson ideas, and project outlines. Other resources include Pinterest, YouTube, 10
and a good old-fashioned Google search. Platforms like Pinterest have lots of great projects with step-by-step instructions. Try searching “inexpensive at home agricultural projects” or “ag science projects high school.”
“YOU DON’T HAVE TO ELIMINATE GROUP WORK DURING DISTANCE LEARNING. IN FACT, HAVING STUDENTS WORK IN PAIRS OR GROUPS TO COMPLETE ACTIVITIES AND TASKS ALLOWS ALL STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE DURING DISTANCE LEARNING, PARTICULARLY IN A HYBRID LEARNING MODEL.”
Use Technology in Unconventional Ways The use of technology will inevitably increase through distance learning, but this does not mean teachers need to download countless applications to reach students. Instead, agricultural teachers can use online technology in unconventional ways to promote creativity, collaboration, and hands-on experiences. In an online setting, teachers should consider how to leverage technology to maximize their teaching capacity. Blogs, podcasts, and social media are examples of free, online resources for teachers to use in their lessons.
switch. Use Student Documentation Not every hands-on assignment will result in a tangible end-product. Assign skills for students to practice and document for teacher or peer feedback. Documentation may include recording or photographing skills demonstrations or having students pair up to practice a skill over video chat.
Students can listen to or write their own podcasts. Utilizing podcasts in agricultural courses exposes students to various agricultural production regions, as well as a range of production practices, environmental factors, and career opportunities. While students can learn agricultural concepts by listening to a podcast, they can also write, edit and record their own podcast as a hands-on assignment.
For example, have students’ video themselves reciting the FFA Creed or presenting their SAE. Students can rate each other’s performance or skill demonstrations, which can be assessed during student/ teacher video conferences.
Use Mindful, Strategic Groups
Developing hands-on distance learning activities can seem daunting for agricultural teachers. However, agricultural courses need hands-on activities for students to develop valuable skills. Agricultural teachers can adjust their hands-on activities to fit a modified at-home setting while still engaging students in a meaningful, educational manner.
You don’t have to eliminate group work during distance learning. In fact, having students work in pairs or groups to complete activities and tasks allows all students to participate during distance learning, particularly in a hybrid learning model. In a synchronous setting, group a student in class with a student at home to complete a project. Through a video chat, the student learning from home can read the instructions and serve as the recorder. The student in class will complete the activity. Both students will have the opportunity to participate in the activity and can interact with their peers. When students change learning environments, their roles can
“Whether it be experiments, virtual contests, FFA meetings and banquets on Zoom and Facebook, we have done it all,” said Wilson. For additional ideas on designing a successful online CTE program and incorporating hands-on learning, visit www. icevonline.com/successful-cte. 11
AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
FREDERICKSBURG HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 20 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? Agricultural education was not my career goal growing up. I wanted to farm with my father and grandfather. I planned to go to junior college and judge livestock and return home and raise corn and soybeans. Fate stepped in in the form of a livestock judging scholarship to go to Texas Tech University, so I decided to take it and explore that opportunity. At the time, I did not know how that decision would change my life. I chose to major in agricultural education because my junior college livestock judging coach told me that it would create more job opportunities than if I just went the animal science route. After a great student teaching experience at Idalou ISD in the spring of 2001 and the realization that the opportunity to go home and farm was not likely, I knew teaching was going to be my best bet in finding a career I enjoyed. Nineteen years later, I can't imagine doing anything else.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY? My favorite classroom memory is getting to share that moment with students when they recite the FFA Creed in front of the class. The sense of pride and accomplishment is awesome to share with them. Even though they probably do not understand the impact that those five paragraphs will have on their life, I know they will look back and be thankful they memorized the FFA Creed and learned who E.M. Tiffany was and how his words impacted them.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY? Hard to pick one, but winning the 2017 Texas FFA Livestock Judging CDE is my favorite. I owe where I am personally and professionally to my participation in livestock judging. From the age of 12-years-old, it paved the path for my success in high school and college. Without livestock judging, I would have never gone to Texas Tech University, met my wife, or developed my passion for teaching agriculture. I feel fortunate to get the chance to provide the same opportunities to my students and see them take advantage of what FFA has to offer and become successful in their own ways.
BY: M AC I E H A R R I S T E X A S F FA A S S O C I AT I O N S P R I N G L E A D E R S H I P D E V E L O P M E N T I N T E R N
WIEGHAT GRAPHICS PLAY ESSENTIAL ROLE IN TEXAS AG EDUCATION
yler and Laurie Wieghat build custom online solutions for small businesses and organizations, including the Texas FFA Association and the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas. Wieghat Graphics originated from Tyler’s time in the blue and gold. In 2004, the former Needville FFA member began looking for a Supervised Agricultural Experience and found a passion which would build a successful career. “In high school, I traveled around the Houston area scoring judging contest and designing websites,” Tyler said. “I continued the work while at Texas A&M University in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences running their servers and websites.”
Texas A&M, then Texas FFA reached out after college graduation and I began my independent contract work with them,” said Tyler. While Laurie did not participate in FFA while in high school, she quickly joined Tyler in the business venture after graduating from Texas Tech University with a degree in advertising. She brings visual aesthetics and creativity to the table. “Laurie makes it look good, and I make it work,” said Tyler. Wieghat Graphics plays the
Today, Wieghat Graphics is a full-service branding and custom software design company specializing in technology solutions for the agricultural and agricultural education industries. They are experts in web development, mobile apps, convention management, record keeping, and many other services. Their client list includes names like Arkansas FFA, Georgia FFA, and California FFA among others. “I built connections while at 14
primary role in the online management and technical aspects of the Texas FFA Association and the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas’ website and roster systems. “I hope we continue to be a partner with FFA and agriculture education and continue to find solutions for their needs,” said Tyler. They have been there for the past 10 years of technology evolution and growth. “Things that used to be a luxury are now mission-critical,” said Laurie.
This past spring, the Texas FFA Association and the Agriculture Teachers of Texas were faced with the looming task of executing their annual convention and professional development conference in a world changed by COVID-19. Executive leadership turned to the Wieghat’s, with the added challenge of a three-month deadline. They delivered.
workshops for teachers. The two events wouldn’t have been as successful without the duo on the Texas Team Ag Ed team. “Watching your work being used is worth all the late nights and early mornings and infamous amount of coffee,” Laurie said. “I enjoy creating meaningful work.”
“WATCHING YOUR WORK BEING USED IS WORTH ALL THE LATE NIGHTS AND EARLY MORNINGS AND INFAMOUS AMOUNT OF COFFEE.”
The couple not only completely built the convention and conference websites from scratch but also played a significant role in filming and editing the various virtual general sessions along side Texas FFA staff. They spent many hours preparing and executing the delegate election and business process and saw the distribution of more than 75
Photos courtesy of Wieghat Graphics.
AGRICULTURE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS
Shannon Anderson Emma Baskin Tyler Beard Chancellor Blount Madyson Bowman Caiden Childs Tatum Christie Cassady Craddock Justin Crumpton Emilee Custer Marlin Davis Maggie Devrow Bailey Elkins Madison Estepp Tully Flanagan Dylan Florence Mary Gilliland Cotton Harris Breanna Harvey William Hedrick Cody Kettler Julia Keys Klayton Kinney Kyler Kmieick Riley Lane Meile Li Mikaela Loerwald Kelton Marek
Kolby Marek Kennedy Marshall Kade Miller MacKenzi Miller Macie Miller Caden Minter Dave Mitchell Cheyenne Neal Emma Nowotny Sydney Orsborn Brice Otto Logan Peikert Anna Pickering Gunner Purcell John Reaves Joshua Reyna Reagan Richard Fernando Rodriguez Sayler Schmidt Kimble Schuessler Rauston Smith Braden Stewart Abigail Sullivan Benjamin Van Winkle Carley Westbrook Kolby Wilson Case Woods 16
BY: L A N I P I E P E R T E X A S F FA N E W S S TA F F
COLLEGE STATION FFA MEMBER EDUCATES PUBLIC ABOUT POULTRY SAE THROUGH INSTAGRAM
ollege Station FFA member Cody Poole strives to educate others about his poultry Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) project through what he likes to call his “chickstagram.”
“I enjoy having my Instagram platform because now not only can I share things with my friends, I can advocate for agriculture in a trendy way that sparks people’s interest,” Poole said.
Poole’s interest in hatching chicks and laying hens began when his high school ag department had an incubator set up in the classroom. After the chicks hatched, he was able to take them home to his own coop. He then created an Instagram profile to share pictures of their growth and progress with his fellow students.
Taking advantage of the Instagram platform, he shares information and fun facts through posts, captions, and stories. By using dynamic and aesthetically pleasing images and informative captions, followers learn the importance of agriculture and the poultry industry.
“By being able to raise chickens like I do, I am able to experience things not everyone gets to,” Poole said. “So why not show and educate others through social media?” His page, @codys_chickstagram, has established a following of more than 1,900 followers since its inception in 2019. 18
“Through my SAE, I hope to inform the people of how poultry products like eggs make it from farm to table,” Poole said.
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AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
WHITEHOUSE HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 5 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? I teach agriculture for the students who have no idea what agriculture is. It is a great joy to see students' faces light up or shocked by the realization agriculture is a part of everything. It is so fun to let them build their public speaking skills, teamwork, and self-confidence while learning where their food, clothing, and favorite products come from. Teaching agriculture also means working with students outside of class who are on teams and hold offices. Working with these students is inspiring. They challenge me to work harder while I challenge them to get out of their comfort zone. It is pure joy to see students succeed, especially when they have never been successful in anything else in their lives.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AG EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT? Every day students remind me they have no idea what agriculture truly is. They have no idea what it takes to get food from the field to their plates. I believe agricultural education is so important. Every single person should know without agriculture, they would not be able to survive.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY? My favorite classroom memory was when I brought live animal organs into the class for the first time. The students were so excited and grossed out all at the same time. During the lab they were so engaged and asked incredible questions about the organsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; functions, development, and how they were placed in the body. Through this lab, I saw the kids who did not want to be in my class become inspired to learn more about animal systems.
HEREâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S TO A
PROUD SUPPORTERS OF THE
TEXAS FFA 21
TEXAS FFA CONVENTION REACHES MORE MEMBER THAN EVER BEFORE BY: AU ST I N L A RG E T E X A S F FA A S S O C I AT I O N E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R
n front of the screen of a computer or mobile device was hardly the way anyone envisioned they would participate in the 92nd Texas FFA Convention. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, virtual was the only option available for Texas, and other state associations across the country, to recognize students and chapters for their accomplishments, hear inspiring messages from outgoing officers, and set the course for the future of the organization be electing a new team of state leaders. Despite the odds, FFA members, advisors, and officers rose to the occasion, and the Texas FFA Convention was no exception. Although the event was nothing like any of us imagined, Texas FFA was able to reach more individuals with convention than ever in the past. During the week of the convention, nearly 25,000 unique users logged into the convention website; thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more than a 10,000 individual increase from the 2019 convention attendance of 14,335. There were more than 53,000 unique sessions and nearly 250,000 page views on the convention website during that time period. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Texas FFA Convention consisted of six pre-recorded sessions that recognized Texas FFA members and chapters for their accomplishments over the 22
last school year. Through these sessions the state FFA officers shared their retiring messages, award winners were announced, and scholarships were presented. Sessions aired twice a day, for three days. Following each of the six sessions, the state FFA officers hosted a live aftershow which allowed them to dive deeper into certain programs, award areas, and special recognitions. The officers interviewed experts and were able to provide instruction and information on topics which canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t normally happen on the officer team. The delegates convention stage. set association dues for the At the conclusion of each 2020-2021 year, approved the morning session and aftershow, association budget, approved the state FFA officers and other the Lone Star and Honorary facilitators presented a variety Lone Star Degree recipients, of workshops that individual and approved Calvin Morgan as students and chapter watch the 2020 National FFA Officer parties could participate in. Candidate from Texas. Workshops delivered focus on conjunction with the topics relevant to both personal In virtual convention, the and chapter development. Personal development topics association hosted the state included having a positive officer selection process. On mindset, building positive Wednesday, delegates were habits, and effectively managing time and stress. Chapter development topics included developing an effective POA and strategic planning, engaging the chapter membership, and engaging in the community through service. Additionally, the Teach Ag Campaign presented a workshop on agricultural education as a career; while Tess Siebel, a national FFA officer, facilitated a workshop about developing as a leader. The final component of the virtual convention was the ability of delegates to participate in the democratic process of conducting the business of the association and electing the 2020-2021 state FFA 23
introduced to the top 24 candidates (two from each of the 12 area associations) and were able to cast a vote for the preferred candidate from their area. On Thursday, the 20202021 state FFA officer team was announced and delegates were given the chance to elect the new State FFA President and First Vice President in another round of voting. The new officers are excited to serve the Texas FFA this coming year! All of the convention content is still live on the convention website for FFA members and advisors to go back and view. It is the hope of the association staff and board of directors that teachers will utilize this content in their classrooms to supplement instruction on FFA programs and opportunities. Additionally, these resources can be used as a promotional tool with administration, and recruitment tool with potential members. To relive the convention, visit convention. texasffa.org!
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EDUCATION CAREER COMMUNITY GUARD
TEXAS STRONG! TEXAS PROUD! THE NEW YOU
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B Y: M I C A H DA V I D S O N G R A D U AT E R E S E A R C H A S S I S TA N T W I T H T H E D E PA R T M E N T O F A G R I C U LT U R A L S C I E N C E S AT W E S T T E X A S A & M U N I V E R S I T Y
HANDS-ON LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR
AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION STUDENTS AT WEST TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
t West Texas A&M University, agricultural education is not taken lightly. Professors work every year to adjust our curriculum and improve. The main focus is to provide as many hands-on opportunities as possible for our future agriculture educators. While showing livestock is not for every high school agriculture student, the reality for most agriculture teachers is that they will spend countless hours preparing for and traveling to stock shows. It is an essential component of so many high school agricultural programs in Texas; because of that, we want our graduates to be prepared. One of the more unique opportunities our undergraduate students experience comes in the form of a livestock show where the college students act as the exhibitors. This project allows us to integrate our freshman animal science students and our junior agricultural education students. Historically, the animal science course is a diverse class with students of all backgrounds. Some have been around livestock their entire lives. However, some aspiring ag teachers have never touched an animal of any sort. Either way, this opportunity sets up the student for a successful learning experience. We begin with an introduction to each species. Students are instructed on care and show techniques for beef cattle, market swine, equine, and market lambs. We follow up that basic instruction by beginning our mock scenario. The freshman students are assigned an “ag teacher” in the form of one of our junior-level agricultural education students. The upperclassmen act as the underclassmen’s “advisors” for the duration of the experience. They are in charge of the development of the “students” in their chapter. They spend countless hours teaching them further on how to show, handle and care for each species. It is the “advisor’s” job to facilitate entry and coordinate all
elements before and on show day. After a few weeks of instruction, the two-day livestock show takes place. The winners of the show are selected solely on showmanship. The show concludes with a round-robin event where the champions from each species face off against each other. Points are then calculated, and the Champion Chapters are crowned. The benefits of this activity are numerous. Our freshman animal science students gain experience in handling livestock, which is a new frontier for many. Our junior agricultural education students get hands-on training overseeing the most common supervised agricultural experience. Lastly, our WT community always has a lot of fun watching the students over a few days. A similar model could be used in high school programs as well. It is a great way to provide your younger students with livestock experience and lend speaking development and advocacy training to your older students. As agricultural teachers, we understand the constant work that is done to promote growth in students. We can begin by cultivating our profession’s future in the young people that will be filling the shoes of agricultural science teachers in years to come.
“WE CAN BEGIN BY CULTIVATING OUR PROFESSION’S FUTURE IN THE YOUNG PEOPLE THAT WILL BE FILLING THE SHOES OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE TEACHERS IN YEARS TO COME.”
AGRICULTURE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS
MENTORS KEN CARR JOE DICKSON GLEN DOSSET MISTY EPPLER RICK FLEMING STEVE FORSYTHE LACHO GARZA MIKE JACKSON
RANDY LOOPER BARNEY MCCLURE DON MCGUFFIN JIM MISSILDINE CHARLES PRAUSE KAY RICHARDS BOBBY ROSENBUSCH KEVEN SMITH
LIZ TREPTOW JIMMY VACULIN RON WHITSON MARY WILSON JACK WINTERROWD GERALD YOUNG
MENTEES AMY ATKINSON BLAKE BARBEE HANNAH BEESON MARY BRIDGES KAYLA BROCK JACY BROWN TREY BROWN JORDYN COOK BROOKE DIAZ ROBERT DUKE
AIMEE EITEL ANGELA ESTREMS ISABELLA FARIAS SOMMER FLOWERS MEGHAN GIBSON BROOKE GOMER CLARISSA GONZALEZ KOURTNEY HOWARD CIERRA JAMES KARLEE JONES
EMMA LEBLANC AMY LITTLE KAYLA LUCIO SKEET MANLEY KOURTNEY MAXWELL DEANNA MORRIS KRISTIN NELSON KAITLYN PETTIT ASHLEY PIERCE MADELINE RUNNER
JOSHUA RUSH JUSTIN SARGENT JOLEE SEABOURN ZENA SMITH MELANIE TITTOR JORDAN TREES JASON WADE JOHNNA WILLIAMS
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE PROVIDED VIRTUAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEMBERS BY: R AY P I E N I A Z E K A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R
n June of 2020, the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Executive Committee voted to move to our annual Professional Development Conference to a virtual format in light of COVID-19 restrictions.
for our Texas ag teachers and their families. Even in uncertain times, we know Texas ag teachers are passionate about ag education and their students. Despite the odds, the participation numbers for our virtual event went beyond expectations.
The association staff, Wieghat Graphics, and AM Planning moved full steam ahead to get a comprehensive conference planned for the benefit of our members. We committed to providing an experience that was both worthwhile and fulfilling for teachers' professional development needs.
During the week of the conference more than 2,280 members, including active, associate, student, and honorary members accessed the event website with more than 84,000 views of the on-demand videos. The opening session had 1,935 unique viewers with an average viewing time of more than 75 minutes, and the closing session had 1,341 unique viewers with an average viewing time of more than 60 minutes. Overall, the conference website totaled more than 333,250 page views during the week of the event.
In front of a computer was hardly the way anyone envisioned attending the conference this year. However, one of the goals was to maintain a sense of normalcy through the schedule and content provided. The event hosted two general sessions which included awards and tenure recognition, as well as motivational keynotes from Riney Jordan and Dr. Roger Cleveland. There were more than 75 workshops available for viewing which covered topics representing all disciplines and phases of agricultural education. In addition, attendees were able to visit with exhibitors via exhibitor showcases and attend virtual area meetings. The final component of the online conference was Family Night, where $2,000 worth of gift cards were awarded to members. The night concluded with a virtual performance by Aaron Watson filmed specially
In correlation with our event attendance success, our association set a new membership record. Our membership is now at 2,242 active members and over 2,373 total active, student, and associate members. We are proud our event was able to reach more teachers than ever before. A special thank you is extended to all of our sponsors, exhibitors, and supporters. Especially to Tyler and Laurie Wieghat of Wieghat Graphics and Abby Mund, Stacey Jones, and Taylor Buck of AM Planning.
Professional Development Conference
for texas Agriculture science education
Legislative Award DeWayne Burns
TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 58
TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 48
Outstanding Ag Teachers of the Year Jennifer Jackson
OUTSTANDING MID-CAREER TEACHER (6-15 YEARS)
OUTSTANDING YOUNG TEACHER (1-5 YEARS)
Lynita Foster OUTSTANDING EXPERIENCED TEACHER (16+ YEARS)
BY: T E R R Y B A I Z E PA S T P R E S I D E N T O F T H E A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S A N D H A M I LT O N H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R
FROM THE RANGE
can’t help but reflect upon all of the changes and turmoil that we have endured, both as individual teachers and as a profession, over the past few months. Who could have foreseen the chain of events that have occurred over the past year? This uncertainty has spilled over into the new school year as some of us started with face to face instruction and others virtually. This year’s future is still uncertain, but it is for sure that it will be unlike any other year we have ever had. Through all of this adversity, our programs and the Agricultural Teachers Association of Texas has thrived. In the words of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, after defeating the British fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie during the war of 1812, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”
level, we have risen to meet the do an outstanding job of leading challenges presented to us as a our organization as president profession. in the upcoming year. With the addition of Marco Barrientes to The Agricultural Teachers the officer team, that leadership Association of Texas has will remain strong over the next always had a strong tradition several years. of leadership. I remember the first Professional Development As I close, I want to encourage Conference that I attended in each of you as we navigate 1984; the director was Wilbert our way through this school Meischen. Mr. Meischen was year. I have faith that whatever followed by Guy Finstad, who challenges come our way, we was followed by Gerald Young will meet them wholeheartedly, and then Barney McClure. Each and overcome them. We are not of these directors was strong just survivors; we are thrivers! leaders and capably guided the As always, I will conclude with association through their own the quote from Clay Tarpley, difficult times. Hamilton ISD Superintendent, “Act right, do your job, and have In 2019, Ray Pieniazek took over fun.” at the helm after Mr. McClure’s retirement, and Ray has done and Have a great year, and I hope to continues to do an outstanding job see you on the range! of leading the association through these difficult times. Under his leadership, the association has “I HAVE FAITH posted the highest number of THAT WHATEVER members on record and has completed a virtual professional CHALLENGES COME development conference that, OUR WAY, WE I dare say, will be the envy of WILL MEET THEM many like organizations.
We, educators and FFA advisors, have met the enemy, and they are ours as well. I believe that this is because of the outstanding leadership that was exhibited at every level of the Texas FFA and Agricultural Teachers Association. Agricultural Teachers From the local programs, up The through the district and area Association’s officer team is levels, and ending at the state reliable, and Ryan Pieniazek will
WHOLEHEARTEDLY, AND OVERCOME THEM.”
AG TEACHER SPOTLIGHT
MICHAEL RAINEY EASTLAND HIGH SCHOOL TENURE: 21 YEARS
WHY DO YOU TEACH AG? After returning home from the Army, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. I volunteered to coach little league baseball and enjoyed working with the kids and knew that it would be great to teach. As for the subject area, I chose agriculture since I was raised in production agriculture, and I could help pass on the knowledge instilled in me by my role models.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSROOM MEMORY? I have many favorite memories, but I enjoy seeing the "light" come on when a student finally gets what you have trying to teach them. It may take several different ways and many hours to get the point across, but the work is worth it when they finally understand.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FFA MEMORY? Most of my favorite memories included watching nervous kids at results, not hearing their name or team being called until the very end. But two occasions come to memory as unique. The first was my Floriculture team in 2017. I enjoyed hauling these girls all over the state, because I knew they wanted to do their best each time and they never failed to amaze me. It was not until the day after they won the state Floriculture event that I learned of their commitment. They sat down with me and told me about the study sessions that happened after midnight on many nights after they finished all their other school work. I asked them why they did this and in secret and their answer was, "We did not want to let our teammates or coach down." I never had a team so dedicated and when all four are in the top ten at state, the results showed their hard work. The second favorite memory occurred the same year. My daughters, Micah and Shaelyn, competed together all year on my Wildlife Management team. It was great to have both travel with me, but the highlight was the state contest in which both were top ten individuals. I still have a photo of my girls holding their high individual and the state placing plaques as my phone background photo today.
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BY: R YA N P I E N I A Z E K P R E S I D E N T O F T H E A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S A N D K R U M H I G H S C H O O L A G R I C U LT U R E S C I E N C E T E A C H E R
BETTER DAYS ARE AHEAD
irst, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve you as the 2020-2021 Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas President. I am genuinely looking forward to the new school year. The past year was full of many challenges, none of us could have predicted when we began school last August. Who would have imagined there would be no area or state Career Development Events, no major or county livestock shows, and no STAAR and end of course exams? When we told those incoming greenhands about convention and leadership conferences, we never envisioned those events would take place virtually. 2020 has brought many challenges; it has also provided many opportunities for creativity, flexibility, and leadership. Agricultural Education and FFA are no stranger to challenges. I remember when my ag teachers, Mr. Dennis Ellebracht and Mr. Glen Rode, were fighting to save our program in the mid to late 1980s. I think of my supervising teacher, Emil Schley, and the wisdom he taught me when I was on the
block. Back then, I thought it was a challenge to keep students engaged for 45 minutes! I also remember my first year of teaching and hearing Mr. Danny Schertz, Mr. Roy Crawford, Jr., Mr. Bud Weston, and Mr. Kirk Edney share the wisdom they had gained by overcoming challenges during their teaching careers. I feel very fortunate to have had incredible mentors to be able to call when facing an issue.
premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. We all have the unique opportunity to belong to a family of men and women willing to help us grow professionally and personally. Our profession is full of talented individuals who can help their fellow teachers with questions relating to curriculum and delivery methods. I encourage each of you, regardless of whether this is your first year or you have been teaching for 20+ years, to reach out to your Without question, the 2020- peers and tap into their wealth 2021 school year will be unlike any other year we have “MOST experienced. The unknown can be unsettling, especially for IMPORTANTLY, agricultural science teachers OUR STUDENTS who plan a Program of Activities one year at a time. Some of us NEED ADULTS will be teaching our students WHO BELIEVE IN remotely, while others utilize THEM AND THEIR a more hybrid approach of inperson and remote learning. POTENTIAL TO Zoom, WebEx, Canvas, ACHIEVE THEIR Google Classroom, the list of technology tools we will use can GOALS. YOU HAVE go on and on. Regardless of the THE EXTRAORDINARY instructional model your district POWER, has chosen, we still have one specific role as ag teachers: FRIENDS, DON’T to make a positive difference UNDERESTIMATE in the lives of students by YOUR INFLUENCE!” developing their potential for 34
of knowledge. Each of you should have received a sticker in your ATAT swag bag, which said, “Never underestimate the power of an agriculture teacher.” As educators, we have the opportunity to build America’s future. Our classrooms are full of future educators, doctors, lawyers, celebrities, politicians, husbands, wives, agriculturalists, artists, and change agents. Our students rely on us to be strong role models to show them how to lead and pivot during challenging situations. Most importantly, our students need adults who believe in them and their potential to achieve their goals. You have the extraordinary power, friends, don’t underestimate your influence!
The Agricultural Teachers Association, as well as the Texas FFA office, are available to help answer questions and provide needed guidance throughout the year. If you missed any of the fantastic workshops presented at the ATAT virtual conference, they are still available as videos on demand for our association members. In addition, if I can ever be of service, please do not hesitate to contact me at ryan.pieniazek@ krumisd.net. If I do not have the answer, I will help you find a person with the answer.
National Teach Ag Day September 20, 2018
So as we begin this new school year, I encourage you to stop and take a deep breath. Reach out to your fellow ag teachers and take comfort in knowing that you are not walking alone.
Friends, I am certain that this year will have its share of challenges. I take comfort in knowing Agricultural Science Teachers are some of the best at creativity, flexibility, and leadership. There is no challenge you can not handle. More importantly, when we lean on each other and work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. Let’s make it a great year!
TEACH AG DAY - SEPTEMBER 17, 2020 35
BY: R AY P I E N I A Z E K A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T E X A S E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R
LEADERSHIP ROLES IN YOUR SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY
eadership is not a position or title; it is action and example. As an agricultural science teacher, you have so many options for showing leadership by action and example in your school. In most schools, there are many opportunities for you to step up and be a role model for your students in leadership roles. Most schools use committees to make decisions within the school district, such as an attendance committee, site-based decisionmaking committee, community relations, etc. Stepping up to serve on these committees is a great way to show you are both interested and want to be involved in what is happening in the school community. If you are asked to assist with an inservice, jump at it! You can share how you teach real-world topics, display how you do things in your classroom, and show off what your program is doing. Offer the middle school and elementary teachers assistance with agricultural-related topics in their classroom. If you have a greenhouse, offer it to biology and science teachers to use. If
you grow bedding plants, offer them to the elementary school to grow in their schools or classrooms.
have become leaders in the agricultural world and society. We have set the standard of leadership for our students.
Athletics may be front and center at your school and community. Show your respect to the coaches and players by attending the events, or even offer to be an announcer during games. Students will love seeing you at these events! There’s no better way to show the community and parents how important their students are to you than by showing up when they are doing other activities. It thrills me to see when teachers post they were honored by a student at an athletic event. This is an example of how leadership can be respected in the classroom.
Your community will look to you for leadership. Whether it be through church, the city council, county government, civic groups, or just getting your students involved with activities, there are countless ways to be a community leader. I was asked to be a member of the agricultural extension service community advisory council and served four plus years. It was a great way to connect with other community members and build a relationship with the extension agents in our county. If you live in a small community, leadership roles may be limited but will be available. Seek out
A quote from Lisa Haisha states, “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader… they set out to make a difference. It's never about the role, always about the goal.” Your goal should be to create more leaders, not followers. I can think of many examples of my former students and countless FFA members who 36
“YOU WILL NEVER KNOW THE POWER OF YOUR ACTIONS UNTIL FAR DOWN THE ROAD WHEN YOUR STUDENTS BECOME COMMUNITY LEADERS."
the community leadership and ask how you could be involved in what is happening. Take your students with you to see how things operate and get them involved in the civic groups or other community-based organizations. We should be modeling servant leadership for our students. Your visibility in the community as a leader will go far in your relationships with parents, students, and community members.
A N E XC E R P T F R O M A PA S T A G R I C U LT U R E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N OF TEXAS NEWSLETTER
THINKING OF THE
Finally, as John Quincy Adams stated, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, you are a leader.” You will never know the power of your actions until far down the road when your students become community leaders. Have a great fall, and reach out if you need us.
YOU’VE SEEN THEM GROW. NOW WATCH THEM LEAD.
THE DOINGS AND HAPPENINGS IN YOUR ASSOCIATION From December 1990 November 20, 1990, was a special day in the history of the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas. That date marked 50 years (1940-1990) of the association, and the sitting executive director, who had served this organization for 25 years, was retiring. A reception commemorated the 50th Anniversary and honored W.H. Meischen’s retirement. W.H. Meischen wrote the following, “It has been a real pleasure to have worked and been associated with the finest group of professional teachers in the public schools, agricultural science and technology instructors and FFA advisors. What a great experience it has been to have worked and been associated with dynamic program directors in the Texas Education Agency. It is the teachers in the 870 school districts carrying out the program who need to be complimented for their continued support and encouragement of the professional association. Because you are out every day where the rubber hits the road.”
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BY: AU ST I N L A RG E T E X A S F FA A S S O C I AT I O N E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R
LEADING AUTHENTICALLY DURING THE UNKNOWN
heart of their operation is called “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. It’s written from the standpoint of encouraging entrepreneurship, but as I read between the lines, the book’s lessons are relevant to any setting, business, or leadership position. If you’ll indulge me, I would love to share a few of the lessons from the book, which I have found to be the most relevant to leading authentically during this period My wife works for a company of uncertainty. that designs learning solutions for organizations all across the One of the first principles in the country. I would describe Vivayic book that resonated with me as innovative, rooted, and as a leader is the concept of scrappy. They’ve been around Making a Dent in the Universe. for about 12 years and have The book shares: “To do great grown from a small company work, you need to feel like with a handful of employees to you’re making a difference. That an organization that now has you’re putting a meaningful nearly 40 people on their full- dent in the universe. That you’re time payroll. It’s crazy how a part of something important. the universe works because This doesn’t mean you need the founders of her company to find a cure for cancer; it’s are actually two past National just that your efforts need to FFA Officers. Vivayic has been feel valuable. You want your relatively unimpacted by this customers to say, “this makes global pandemic, so I’ve tried my life better.” You want to to hone in on how they’ve been feel that if you stopped doing able to navigate this period of what you do, people would the unknown in a way that keeps notice.” Isn’t that true? I know their clients and employees at we talk about serving others in ease. One of the books at the a selfless way, but I think we n the era of COVID-19, I’ve been doing more reading than normal. I’ve always adhered to the idea that “leaders are readers,” but let’s be real, sometimes it's challenging to carve out the necessary time to do so. In this prolonged period of online learning, social distancing, and self-quarantine, I’ve tried to identify leaders who are leading well and authentically.
chose agricultural education as our profession because of this very desire for each of us. I can guarantee you will face innumerable challenges this school year. I can tell you, though, that you are guided by the desire to make your student’s lives better and do something meaningful, regardless of the challenges. Don’t forget our mission in the FFA is about premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. We certainly have been achieving that for the last 92 years, and we will continue to do so; it will just undoubtedly look different this year.
“A CHALLENGE I LAY AT YOUR FEET IS TO REMEMBER OUR MISSION AND BE OK WITH 'WHAT WE DO' AND 'HOW WE DO IT' LOOKING DIFFERENT BECAUSE IT’S WHAT THE TIMES WE ARE LIVING IN ARE CALLING FOR.”
The next principle I came across that stuck with me is the idea of being “at-home good.” I read the title of this section and was confused. As I dug deeper, the book shared: “You know what it feels like. You go to the store. You’re comparing a few different products, and you’re sold on the one that sounds like it’s the best deal. It’s got the most features, it looks the coolest, the packaging looks hot, there's a sensational copy on the box. Everything seems great, but then you get it home and it doesn’t deliver. It’s not as easy to use as you thought it’d be. It has too many features that you don’t need. You end up feeling that you’ve been taken…you didn’t really get what you needed and you realize you spent too much. You just bought an ‘in-store good’ product. That’s a product you’re more excited about in the store than you are after you’ve actually used it.” The idea of being “at-home good” certainly applies to the school year we are all stepping into. The idea is to be so good at what you do, that people come back to you as a dependable product, the one they refer to as their friends. It’s going to be easy to be swept up in the latest craze that’s sweeping education. This is a reminder to show-up consistently and to do your best for your students. They will appreciate your efforts in being present for them, trying new ways to engage them, showing them empathy and grace more than they will enjoy having to learn 900 new ways to access their education. Being “at-home good” is a reminder the outcomes are more important than the inputs. It’s also a reminder that in this time of distance learning, you don’t have to be the expert in every new tool that’s created to teach students virtually. The final principle is one that hit me right in the gut, and I think it’s appropriate for leading in the times that we are in today. The concept is called “planning is guessing,” and the book reads: “Unless you’re a fortune-teller, longterm planning is a fantasy. There are just too many factors that are out of your hands. When you turn guesses into plans, you enter the danger zone. Plans let the past drive the future. They put blinders on you. This is where we’re going because, well, that’s where we said we were going. And that’s the problem: Plans are inconsistent with improvisation, and you have to improvise. You have to be able to pick up opportunities that come along. Sometimes you
“LEADING AUTHENTICALLY DURING THE UNKNOWN IS TOUGH. PEOPLE WILL BE LOOKING TO YOU FOR THE ANSWERS OR A PLAN, AND SOMETIMES YOU WON’T HAVE IT. THAT’S OK! WE WILL COME THROUGH THIS PANDEMIC MUCH STRONGER THAN WE WERE GOING INTO IT.” need to say, “we’re going in a new direction because that’s what makes sense today.” I had to let this one sit with me for a while. I’m a planner; well, by this logic, I suppose I’m a guesser. I like to know what’s coming next and feel like I work my best when I know what the target is I’m trying to hit. I’m sure many of us are this way, and it’s helped us achieve goals we have set for ourselves and helped our students find success in and out of the classroom. That said, these last five months have shown me having a plan is really something shackling you and holding you back when you don’t have the ability to take the time to inform your decisions with current information. As we go through this school year, I’m sure many of us will want to cling to what we have always known. A challenge I lay at your feet is to remember our mission and be ok with “what we do” and “how we do it” looking different because it’s what the times we are living in are calling for. Leading authentically during the unknown is tough. People will be looking to you for the answers or a plan, and sometimes you won’t have it. That’s ok! If you’re doing this work to make a dent in the universe, if you focus on being “at-home good,” and if you can remember at the end of the day, planning is just guessing; we will come through this pandemic much stronger than we were going into it. The last thought I’d like to leave you with is from a colleague of mine in Minnesota. As we discussed a topic very similar to this, she shared, “This is a season for leadership. If we got into this profession to truly make a difference and serve others well, then this season is a gift.” I wish you and your students the best of luck this year! 39
Marketing Shouldn’t be Overwhelming For more than 30 years, Livingston Machinery has proudly helped farmers feed the world. But our mission does not just mean providing quality equipment, parts and service – to us, it means supporting what means the most to them – their families and traditions. We are proud to invest in the future of agriculture through national, state and local FFA chapters. At Livingston Machinery, we want to say thank you to the parents, advisors, cosponsors and students who are ensuring the next generation of agriculture.
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DISH is proud to support Texas ag education. Introducing the DISH Ambassador Program, a new way to fundraise for Texas FFA chapters Are you an FFA advisor? Learn how your chapter can participate in the DISH Ambassador Program at dish.com/FFA
FFA and its members are not authorized retailers of DISH products and services, for information on DISH products and services please contact DISH directly. Door-to-door distribution of materials regarding the DISH-FFA program is prohibited. Telephone solicitation in connection with the DISH-FFA program is prohibited. Use of the FFA Name or Mark does not represent an endorsement by FFA of this product or service or an endorsement by FFA of the manufacturer or provider of this product or service. From October 24, 2018 until June 31, 2019, for every new and qualifying former customer that signs up under DISH’s Digital Home Advantage program, FFA will receive $200.00. Restrictions apply. Program not available in AL, HI, IL, MA, MI, SC. See website for details.
The Spirit of West Texas Dimmitt ׀Earth ׀Seagraves ׀Lubbock ׀Sudan Littlefield ׀Seminole ׀Amarillo ׀Canyon Lamesa ׀Wichita Falls 41
BY: A A RO N A L E JA N D RO T E X A S F FA F O U N DAT I O N E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R
LEADERSHIP: PASSION, VISION, AND STYLE: HOW TO SHUFFLE INTO A LEGACY
s we look through history, leaders seem to take on some consistent leadership traits. Passion. Vision. Style.
Here’s a great example of vision and hard work through the legacy of a 61-year-old farmer who won the world’s toughest race. Australia hosts a 544mile endurance race that goes from Sydney to Melbourne. It is a grueling marathon known by racers around the world. It takes five days to complete, and it is not for the faint of heart. Only “world-class athletes” would attempt such a challenge. Most of those who sign up are sponsored by big brands such as Nike and are typically under the age of 30.
Watch successful leaders, listen to a successful leader, be around successful leaders, and you will not be surprised, they are passionate about life or the organization they lead. They are generally happy, grateful, empathetic, and focused on their role and the outcomes they hope to achieve. Passion is a powerful motivator because it is an internal thermostat that helps us encourage, empower, and lead others. In 1983, Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race, a Leadership and organizations 61-year-old farmer in overalls must have a clear, measured, and and work boots. It didn’t take strategic vision for excellence. long for the whispers, rumors, The idea can be of individual and innuendos to begin. accomplishment and the goals, tools, objectives, benchmarks, "You're crazy; there’s no way and network for achievement. you can finish this race." Cliff’s The vision can also be part of response was simple, “Yes, I something greater than oneself can.” and a dream of brand success, which includes employing others, The race started, and the problem-solving, educating professional runners quickly left others, empowering others, behind Cliff. Not only was he healing others, or encouraging dressed differently, but he ran others. Whether an individual differently. He shuffled. Left so vision of success or leadership far behind, in overalls, and with a vision for an organization, both peculiar shuffle, many feared for will require the appropriate the old farmer's safety. Racers leadership style and hard work. had to run about 18 hours a day 42
and sleep 6 hours; Cliff was not aware of this strategy. He only knew one thing, where the finish line was and to work hard to get there. The morning of the second day brought a surprise, Cliff was still in the race, and he had jogged all night. He claimed he would run straight through to the finish line without sleeping. He said, “I grew up on a farm where we couldn't afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I'd have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I'd always catch them. I believe I can run this race." By the final night, he had passed
“AS WE LOOK THROUGH HISTORY, LEADERS SEEM TO TAKE ON SOME CONSISTENT LEADERSHIP TRAITS. PASSION. VISION. STYLE."
all the world-class athletes. He was the first competitor to cross the finish line, and he set a new course record. He was awarded $10,000 for winning, which surprised him because he didn’t know there was a prize for coming in first. Cliff gave his winnings to several other runners, which captured the heart of Australia. His legacy was just getting started.
execute a vision. Now you must apply the right style of leadership. Autocratic – take charge, direct people what to do, and lead from the front. Democratic – engage others, let people gravitate to tasks, and lead side by side. Laisse Faire – things are going well and in the right direction. Lead from behind by supporting and staying out of the way of momentum and velocity.
Cliff entered the same race and took 7th place the next year. Not even a displaced hip during the race stopped him. He made headlines again in 1997, at the age of 76, when he raised money for homeless children by running around Australia's border. He completed 6,520 kilometers of the 16,000-kilometer run before he had to stop because one of his crew members got sick. Cliff died in 2003 at age 81.
Leadership is situational. There will be times and circumstances which require an autocratic style of leadership. When utilizing the strength of a team, the democratic style may work best. Often, when organizations are excelling, being supportive, and out of the way is the best style.
His style of running became known as the "Young Shuffle." Marathon runners have used it as a method of conserving energy. Three champions of the Sydney to Melbourne race have used the shuffle to win. A strategy all derived from Cliff’s agriculture background.
“The great majority of people are ‘wandering generalities’ rather than ‘meaningful specifics.’ The fact is that you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. You have to have goals.” – Zig Ziglar
When it comes to leadership, which style is correct? You have the passion and want to
Be a leader of purposeful passion, a bold vision, and a leadership style to live a legacy.
The Texas FFA Supporters save 10% or more off BAR* at over 9,000 locations across 20 iconic brands Book today at wyndhamhotels.com and use Corporate Code 1000028580 or call 800-407-9832 and ask for the Texas FFA Supporters discounted rate
Encore Hotels are not available in the United States or Canada. *Subject to availability at participating hotels. Blackout dates and certain restrictions may apply. Discount for Texas FFA Supporters is 12% off our Best Available Rate (BAR) at La Quinta by Wyndham hotels and 10% off BAR at all other by Wyndham hotel brands. Savings are discounted from property’s BAR excluding taxes, resorts/service fees, incidentals, gratuities, or additional per room, per night charges that may be imposed. BAR means best, non-qualified, unrestricted, publicly available rate on the Internet for the hotel with equivalent terms, date and accommodations requested. Offer is subject to cancellation or change at any time and void where prohibited by law. Cannot be combined with any other discounts, offers, group rates, or special promotions. Cancel 24 hours prior to 4PM day of arrival to avoid 1 night charge plus applicable tax. Reservations must be guaranteed with a valid credit card. © 2019 Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc. All rights reserved. All hotels are independently owned and operated except certain hotels managed or owned by a subsidiary of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
B Y: K E L LY W H I T E T E X A S F FA A L U M N I P R E S I D E N T
TEXAS FFA ALUMNI AND SUPPORTERS
here are many phrases in the FFA Creed we can utilize in our daily lives. In the late freezing hours of a stock show or when experiencing a tough time, I hear the words of the FFA Creed telling me, “for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.” I am sure we all have a line we find motivational from the words of this written body of work.
been a laser show, music to get the crowd going, or standing ovations for their hard work and retiring addresses, but this group did a great job! The Texas FFA Alumni were honored to pay their lifetime FFA dues and welcome them into the Texas Past State Officers Alumni (PSO).
However, one line speaks volumes to me. I have used it as a reminder in a disruptive class to let them know I expect them to be leaders and respect their classmates. This line is especially relevant in the times we live in.
$500 Texas FFA Alumni Scholarship
Other alumni programs and FFA members honored at this year’s virtual convention included the following:
Kaitlyn Castro, Gilmer FFA Macie Jayne McCollum, Bowie FFA Kielee Whitewood, Sanger FFA
$500 Texas FFA Alumni Grants “I believe in leadership from In Memory of Kelly Prewitt ourselves and respect from others.” Stewart
Priefert, DATAMAR, and Tuff-Mac. We would also like to thank Marcus Hill of Ag Worker Insurance, Seitz Fundraising, AET, Farmer Bill, the KGK White Foundation, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller for their contributions to this year’s auction. The event was put together in such a short period; several of our traditional supporters may not have received the information— however, an event that almost didn’t occur still happened. Over $3,200 was raised through the support of the individuals mentioned above and those who participated online. Not bad for the short notice! I was raised in a Southern Baptist home. On Sundays, the preacher would end each service with an “altar call.” Consider this your “altar call!” If you don’t have an alumni and supporters affiliate or chapter at your local school, would you like one? All you have to do is come forward and ask what you can do to have such a thing in your life. I, or any of the Texas FFA Alumni and Supporters, would be glad to lead you in that direction.
I often ask myself, “Why can’t Elgin FFA everyone learn from this simple Gilmer FFA statement what we teach our FFA Vandegrift FFA members?” Our Texas FFA Alumni Auction, We are truly blessed to have traditionally held on the leaders located on 12th Street in Thursday of the convention, also Austin, Texas. The Texas FFA staff, underwent a first. Brent Grave Agriculture Teachers Association and his daughter Presley Grave of Texas staff, and Texas FFA of StockShowAuctions.com I wish every one of you a great Foundation staff did an excellent volunteered their services to make school year. Be safe, and be job this summer, bringing us a the event possible virtually on flexible! virtual Texas FFA Convention such short notice. McCoy’s Building and Professional Development Supply, especially their Farm and Conference. Our 2019-2020 Ranch Marketing Sales Specialist, Texas FFA Officers also deserve Cliff Mulanax, were instrumental a shoutout. There may not have in securing items from McCoy’s,
Educators do more than teach They nurture, encourage and inspire our youth. BASF applauds all educators who invest in the future with dedication to student success.
ÂŠ2020 BASF Corporation. All rights reserved.
BASF Regional Sales Manager, Karissa Jones, speaking at the 2019 National FFA Convention
for a MEANINGFUL CAREER in
NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT Responsible land and water use, along with conservation methods, are vital to ensuring the future of natural resources. To help the next generation understand ecology issues and gain experience in the field, Ducks Unlimited has developed the Ecology & Conservation Management Certification. The certification verifies individuals’ knowledge and skills in the areas of ecological principles and wildlife management, as well as habitat, forest, grasslands, wetlands and waterfowl conservation and management.
INDUSTRY STANDARDS The certification exam consists of 100 questions and assesses knowledge and skills from the following weighted industry standards:
10% Species Identification
Ducks Unlimited utilizes iCEV, a division of CEV Multimedia, as the certification testing platform. As the testing platform, iCEV offers optional exam preparation materials, utilizes secure testing technology and provides certification verification to employers.
Wildlife Conservation & Management
Habitat Conservation & Management
“It’s important that students understand not only the conservation and ecology of wildlife and wildlife habitat, but also their personal roles as future stewards.” Mark Horobetz Manager of Youth & Education Programs Ducks Unlimited
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B Y: S A N D R A C H O AT E S TAT E E X E C U T I V E S E C R E TA R Y
TEXAS YOUNG FARMERS
eadership is flourishing in the agricultural education community. The Texas Ag Ed Family puts a new spin on the adage – leaders are made, not born. Or is it that they are born and not made? I believe that it is a combination of both. Like the seed that we plant, no matter how much water or fertilizer we add, if the seed is barren, the crop will not grow. However, if it is a dormant seed, waiting for the right environment, with water and fertilizer or, in this case, education, support, and opportunity, that seed will grow, bloom and produce in abundance. Texas Young Farmers has had the honor of being led by some of the best, and this year is no exception. We have a combination that screams success. Our President Herb Casey is a retired ag teacher from Teague ISD. He attended Carbon High School in Eastland county and was an active member of the Carbon FFA serving as president his senior year. After high school, he attended Cisco Junior College for two years before enlisting in the US Air Force. Following four years of service, he returned to Texas to attend Tarleton State University to earn both a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education and a Masters of Science in Science Education. He was hired in Teague before he finished his masters and taught there all 27 years of his teaching career. Throughout the Texas agricultural education
community, Herb is known for his knowledge and skill in agricultural mechanics. His tractor mechanics team advanced to state 23 times during his tenure. After he began training an agricultural mechanics team in 1994, they qualified for state every year until his retirement in 2005. He is and always has been happy to share his knowledge and tips on training the best. President-Elect Makayla Cruz is a 4H Program Assistant for Brazos County Agrilife Extension. She is a 2020 graduate of Texas A&M University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education and Development and is currently working on her Master of Science in Agriculture, Leadership, Education, and Communication. She is a graduate of Bryan High School, where she was an active member of the Bryan FFA chapter and earned her American Farmer Degree in 2016. Makayla is a true servant leader. One of her main focuses within Texas Young Farmers is community service. Since she became a member six years ago, she has worked to improve our organization’s community service, both at the chapter and state level. Our Past President, Clovia Ketchum, is currently serving as the National Young Farmers Association Secretary. After graduating from Lampasas High School, Clovia went straight into the workforce. She got her postsecondary education through her trade in the Savings and Loan
industry, starting as a teller and working up the ladder until the operation closed their doors. She then moved to the Hill Country Community Action Association, working with the food bank program and utility assistance program assisting elderly and lowincome households with utility costs. She became involved with the San Saba Young Farmers with her brothers and spent many years volunteering before officially becoming a member. She has served in many capacities on the state level. Her leadership is now recognized on the national stage. Thank you to the remaining Texas Young Farmers Board members: Chad Wood, Teague; Kenneth Hedrick, Junction; LA Meuhr, Schulenberg; Charles Rochester, Gonzales; Sherry Mendenhall; Roy Ward, Coolidge; Tommy Ketchum, San Saba; Kenny Bulger, Fairfield; Larry Mendenhall; Dillon Donaldson, Bryan; Charlie Rochester, Gonzales; C.J. Johnson, Bryan. Thank you also to those who serve in a non-elective position Ray Pieniazek, Executive Administrator, and Terry Hausenfluck, State Advisor. Texas Young Farmers is blessed with great leaders. Join us in service to the agriculture community! "Great leaders don't set out to be a leader. They set out to make the difference. It is never about the role - always about the goal." – Lisa Haisha
THERE CANâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T BE A GAME WON WITHOUT A GAME PLAN See what Texas FFA students have to say at mytexasffa.org
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