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NEWS A Texas Team Ag Ed Publication



June 2018


Michael Meadows, Simms

I’m writing this article just after attending a year-end meeting with our association’s professional mentors. As many of you know, this year VATAT embarked on a pilot professional mentoring program intended to provide support, advice, help, and encouragement to early career ag teachers. This idea had been discussed for a long time before launching this past year. Our records indicated that approximately half of our members have five years or less experience in our profession, and we noticed many were getting out of teaching after only a year or two. After doing some research, we discovered this was largely due to feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities that come with teaching ag. All of us know how demanding our jobs can be and how fast-paced our lives can become throughout the course of the school year. We also found that more are entering the profession through alternative certification programs and haven’t had the same preparation as those of us who came through a more traditional teacher preparation program at a university. Along with the trend of having more openings than highly-qualified applicants, our association decided to act. The overall success and sustainability of agricultural education depends on quality, well-rounded, local programs that positively impact students and prepares them for the future. We have the structure in place to do this, but it ultimately depends

on local teachers to implement and/or maintain a quality, wellrounded program. Those of us who have been in the profession a while know this is challenging, but possible with the proper resources, support, and structure at the local level. Our professional mentors- recently retired, very successful ag teachers- help provide these resources, support, and structure. This de-briefing meeting was intended to receive feedback from our mentors which will be used to increase the effectiveness of the program. After listening to our mentors, I am convinced this is a service that can and will be very beneficial to our members and our profession. Those that retire represent years of valuable knowledge and experience that could really help an early career teacher. We are tapping this valuable resource to help less experienced teachers “get their feet under themselves” and hopefully avoid some of the mistakes that all of us have made. As a result, we hope to improve and/or maintain quality programs by retaining good, high quality ag teachers. The VATAT exists to provide benefits to members. This mentoring program targets early career teachers but benefits all of us by increasing the quality of local programs, which will help cement our program for the future. We could not offer this particular member benefit without the work of our mentors. The

association pays them to help cover expenses and time, but we could never pay them the value of their experience, knowledge, and desire to see agricultural education flourish. The work they are doing inspires and motivates me. Their comments during our meeting proved to me once again that teaching ag is just not a job- it “gets in your blood” and you never really stop being an ag teacher. The willingness to help, the love of helping develop another person, the readiness to put in the extra hours, the desire to continually work for improvement, these are the characteristics and passion of an ag teacher. Those characteristics don’t disappear or go away when you retire, they are embedded in. Continue on page 2

It Has Been a Good Year

Paying it Forward

By the time you read this, school will be out, and summer activities will be in full swing. Before you completely close the book on the 20172018 school year, take some time to reflect on the events of the past twelve months. I am sure there were successes, along with some things that didn’t go as well. Take time to enjoy some satisfaction in the positives. Too many times, those of us in this profession do not take the time to properly savor the great things our students achieve. There is always a new deadline to meet, another project to complete, and activities to supervise. Success is something to be proud of, and to properly enjoy. Any program or teacher, no matter how successful, encounters some situations that don’t go well. Hopefully, by now the storm has been weathered and you are no longer in crisis mode. Thinking strategically about why things didn’t work out well is critical to not seeing a repeat. Examine where things went off track and how they could be handled differently. Conferring with teaching partners or administrators to collaborate on solutions may be the key to future success. Summer may be a good time to look at some type of program assessment. We have one on our website that was created to be comprehensive, while only taking a few minutes to complete. You may find that some of the things we worry and fret over are not critical to our program, and some things we skate past are really the most important. At any rate, there may be some food for thought in creating a strategic plan. Finally, take some time for yourself. A worn down, frazzled, burned out teacher is no good to anyone. Get some rest, take some family time, and recharge physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Next school year will be here before you know it!

who we are and why we do what we do. Please help us promote this mentoring program. If you know an early career teacher, tell them about this member benefit. Information can be found on the VATAT website, or they can call the office to find out more. We really want to identify those that could benefit from having a professional mentor and make sure they have the opportunity to apply. I also want to thank the VATAT staff, beginning with Barney McClure and Tori Rosser, who coordinates this program, for their hard work in getting this program off the ground. I also want to thank Aaron Alejandro and the Texas FFA Foundation for securing a financial sponsor to help offset the cost of this program for our association. I sincerely believe it is a very wise investment in the future of our profession and program. Until next month, be safe!

Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director

INSIDE THIS ISSUE VATAT.......................................1 - 3 Foundation..............................4 Alumni................................6 Young Farmers......................8 - 9


don’t forget to check your tenure When registering for conference






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VATAT CREDIT UNION “Serving Members Since 1961” Welcome Summertime! We wanted to share some important and exciting things happening with your credit union. We look forward to meeting potential new members at conference this year in Lubbock and hope to reach out to current teachers as well! We are here because of you and would appreciate the opportunity to help with any loan needs or questions you might have. Please feel free to contact us anytime.

Come by booth #575 at the VATAT Conference and check out our promos and great rates.

2018 Board Director Position Announcement: We would like to announce that we will have three (3) Director positions up for election at our 2018 annual meeting in Lubbock. We have three (3) incumbents willing to continue to serve for another 2 year term. Any member interested in submitting his/her petition for one of the three (3) positions should contact our nominating committee no later than July 20, 2018. The nominating committee members are: Beverley Schroeder at 512-656-3945, Don Henson at 210-560-8806, Gary Adams at 512-789-8490 and Glenn Clinard at 512-661-8058.

Access to Credit Union Documents: In accordance to Section 91:315, this notice is to advise you, as a VATAT Credit Union member, you have the ability to request certain documents relating to the credit union’s finances & management. These documents are: the balance sheet & income statement, a summary of the most recent annual audit, written board policy regarding access to articles of incorporation, bylaws, guidelines, board policies, and the IRS form 990. Any requests for these documents should be made to management at our main office with advance notice.

Complaint Notice: If you have a problem with the services provided by this credit union, please contact us at: VATAT Credit Union, 614 E 12th St., Austin, TX 78701; (512) 472-3258 or (800) 777-1825. The credit union is incorporated under the laws of the State of TX and under state law is subject to regulatory oversight by the Texas Credit Union Department. If any dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may also file a complaint against the credit union by contacting the Texas Credit Union Department at 914 E. Anderson Ln, Austin, TX 78752-1699; (512) 837-9236 or online

Dormant Accounts We are required by Texas law to turn over any accounts that have not had any activity on them in 3 years. Please contact the credit union today if you have an account so we can set up ACH or possible loans for you!

Moving Soon? Send us your new info so we can update your account!

Online Banking

Access your account anytime with our NEW online banking. Go to our website and click on new user and follow prompts. Then you will be able to view your balances, account history and payment information.

VATAT CREDIT UNION 614 E. 12TH ST. AUSTIN, TX 78701 (512)472-3258 * INFO@VATATCU.ORG See You in July, Rosario Rodriguez & Meredith Hartmann


UPDATE Texas FFA Alumni News Kelly White, Texas FFA Alumni President

My wife recently asked me to clean out my portion of our closet. One thing I found was a lot of old caps. There were memories attached to some of the caps, and some I wondered where or how I came to own them. Some were new while others were extremely worn out with sweat, dirt, grime and grease stains. My hat is now off to those that are retiring this year. They will clean out their classrooms and find items that they have held onto for years. Memories that are both good and bad. Memories that are filled with sweat, dirt, grime and grease. Yet unlike my caps, their memories will be filled with tears (and a little bit of manure). Congrats to Larry Vinklarek (McNeil) and Ray Pieniazek (East Central) just to name a few. I would be amiss if I failed to congratulate my wife on her retirement from the classroom. Congrats Glynda! If you have not heard yet, the Texas FFA Alumni holds its annual meeting and auction every year during the State FFA Convention. The auction is the Alumni’s primary source of funding for the awards, grants, & scholarships that we bestow to worthy candidates. The auction traditionally has several items that are useful to our industry. Thanks to our big contributor McCoy’s, whose support has given us the opportunity to offer a squeeze chute, panels, t-post, and other miscellaneous items for several years. LaQuinta has donated night stays nationwide. Several of our fundraising vendors graciously donate items such as boots, camping equipment, and other things. We have had items that you can purchase for your spouse to show her/ him that you missed them the week of convention. The Alumni Auction is for you. Just ask the ag teachers that are persuaded by Liz Treptow last year. Several had not planned to buy anything yet walked out with a winner. We are always looking for auction items. So if you would like to contribute to the auction or know of someone that would, please feel free to contact me in order to secure it in the auction line-up. 6

Alumni Chapter Basket Contest You are invited to fill a basket and enter your FFA alumni chapter in the Texas FFA Alumni Chapter Basket Contest. Each alumni chapter may enter one basket. It may have homemade jellies, items made by local companies, homemade items, items from the local ag department, caps, etc. Baskets should be delivered to the FFA Alumni booth by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10th. The baskets will be judged on a penny ($.01) per vote. The basket with the most votes will receive the rotating “Basket Winner” plaque. The baskets become the property of the Texas FFA Alumni Association and will be sold in the auction on Thursday evening.

Contest Rules • Baskets need to be delivered to the FFA Alumni booth by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday. • A list of the items included in the basket should be clearly labeled on the basket. • The basket can be of any creation.

The Texas FFA Alumni is always looking for testimonials regarding the hard work that your local affiliate does for your FFA Chapter. Contact Kelly White via the website to submit your testimonials.


UPDATE Notes From


Executive Secretary

Bob Young, Texas Young Farmers Executive Secretary

As I begin this article, I must admit several different topics of discussion to write about have passed through my mind. By the time you receive this newsletter, another school year will have been completed. I believe administrators and teachers alike should ask themselves if they made the most of their opportunities to be positive forces in the lives of the students they serve. How did they go about achieving these goals? Were their actions done with dignity, honor, and respect? Did they nurture in students the desire to learn more, try harder, and even to help fellow students to be more successful? Did they instill in students the characteristics of responsibility, determination, dependability, and accountability? No doubt, these are some of the most important aspects of education, helping form the cornerstone upon which quality education is based. I now have the privilege of observing FFA Chapters throughout Texas and as far as I am concerned, there is no better place to find examples of teachers doing their jobs and accomplishing the standards mentioned above than in an FFA Chapter. It has now been thirty-seven years since I last taught “Vocational Agriculture” (as it was called then) in high school. I asked myself those questions each year. I soon discovered, though, with the help of some very knowledgeable, experienced “mentortype” ag teachers in my district, that one of the keys of successful teaching is to ask ourselves these questions continuously throughout the year. Don’t wait until the school year is over. Because teachers have the opportunity to learn from their students, this constant self-evaluation process may allow for needed adjustments or changes to be made during the year to help make more goals attainable. There must be a lot of this happening in our chapters today because there are so many obvious success stories about both students and teachers. Teachers, you are providing the opportunities for your students. Speaking as a representative of the Texas Young Farmers, I applaud you for your hard work. You are helping to make Young Farmer Chapters stronger also as you excel at your work. Each year the Texas Young Farmers Association 8

awards a total of $7000 in scholarships to deserving FFA members of FFA Chapters which have a Young Farmer Chapter in good standing with the State Association. We award five $1000 scholarships, selected by a state Young Farmer committee. One additional $2000 scholarship is awarded through the Texas FFA selection process. We are proud to announce the recipients of the five $1000 State Association of Young Farmers of Texas Scholarship Awards Program for 2018: Kaitlin Newman, Fairfield FFA; Cory Sinkule, Penelope FFA; Kourtnee Kirgan, Fairfield FFA; Audrey Brown, Dayton FFA; Caelyn Thompson, Teague FFA. These recipients will be recognized at a special breakfast ceremony at the State FFA Convention and will be presented with their award at a Convention session. Congratulations to all five recipients. On another note, Texas Young Farmers State Officers will conduct a quarterly meeting on Saturday, June 30, in Temple at the Hilton Garden Inn, the host hotel of our 2019 State Convention. Our planning process seems to never slow. We have some great tours, educational workshops, informative meetings, enjoyable and competitive contests, state officer elections, and outstanding meals scheduled for the convention, which will be held January 10-12, 2019. It is an event worthy of putting on your calendar. I have always enjoyed attending the Texas FFA Convention and the VATAT Conference. I will especially enjoy them this year as it is my first time to represent Texas Young Farmers. Just as Don Beene did for his fourteen years as Executive Secretary, we will have an exhibit booth at both events. We are certainly looking forward to visiting with teachers, students, and supporters. We also hope to encourage teachers to consider starting a Young Farmer Chapter and to reap the rewards of having such a valuable support group for your FFA Chapter. So please come by our booth to visit. Until next time, remember, “Everyone who remembers his/her own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system.” - Sidney Hook

Photos From the 64th Annual Texas Young Farmers Convention 2017 State YALE Contest

2017 Texas Young Farmer Newcomer of the Year

1st place - Ciara Davis, Bryan Chapter

Natalie Swenson

2017 Texas Young Farmers Chapter Sweepstakes Award

Gonzales Young Farmers Chapter



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614 E. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701

Upcoming Events June


2nd - 5th State Leadership Conference

9th - 13th Texas FFA Convention

6th - 8th State Degree Check

30th - Aug. 3rd VATAT Professional Development Conference

8th Texas FFA Board of Directors Meeting


(512) 472-3128

August 1st Texas FFA Payment Deadline

Officers Michael Meadows, President

Tammy Christian, Vice President


Terry Baize, Secretary/Treasurer

Barney McClure, Executive Director Ashley Dunkerley, Communications Karen Jones, Membership Services Tori Rosser, Special Projects


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June 2018  

June 2018  

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