Renee Wangler Selected for Educator Award
Renee Wangler, agriculture teacher at Newaygo County Career-Tech Center in Fremont, Mich., is one of only six individuals nationwide who received the National Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Young Member Award, presented at the 2016 NAAE annual convention in Las Vegas on November 30.
Wangler has been an agricultural educator at Newaygo County Career-Tech Center since 2012. Being the first agriculture teacher the school has ever had, she has built the program from the ground up over the last four years. Starting with an empty classroom and a shared lab space, Wangler has...
...expanded the program to now include two 1,400 square foot hoop houses, a 12,000 square foot garden and apple orchard, and a brand new 2,400 square foot livestock barn.
Wangler teaches courses in animal agriculture, plant science, natural resources management, and food science. Despite being in a rural agricultural community, upwards of eighty percent of her students have no experience in agriculture. Wangler sees it as her primary goal to bring awareness of agriculture and its practices to her students. She does this through hands-on activities such as letting students manage the school’s flock of laying hens, breed meat and show rabbits, hatch and release salmon, grow and harvest tilapia, and produce vegetables in the school’s garden.
NCCTC students are also active in FFA. Each year members compete in Career Development Events—competitions which allow students to learn and practice agricultural skills. The program has seen students place in the top ten for the state of Michigan in contests such as Forestry, Dairy Judging, Horse Judging, Poultry Evaluation, and the Agriscience Fair.
“I believe that teaching agriscience is about connecting students with their future careers, preparing them to be good citizens, having students learn by doing, and producing knowledgeable consumers. If all of those are accomplished, I feel that I am a successful teacher,” said Wangler.
Each of the 2016 NAAE Outstanding Young Member winners received special recognition at the NAAE convention. John Deere sponsors the Outstanding Young Member program as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
NAAE is the professional organization in the United States for agricultural educators. It provides its’ more than 8,000 members with professional networking and development opportunities, professional liability coverage, and extensive awards and recognition programs. The mission of NAAE is “professionals providing agricultural education for the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy and service.” The NAAE headquarters are in Lexington, Ky.