Our first honoree is Hayden Bush, who teaches at Tillamook High School in Oregon. The Tillamook Agricultural Education program offers 24 different agriculture courses for students to take, and graduated 45 program completers last year, with 60 expected this year. As an educator, Hayden believes that his role is to facilitate the learning of his students. He says that the most important skill a student can take away from any class is the ability to think critically through a problem in order to solve it. Hayden says “my hope is that I have built a strong sense of community within my classroom walls that extend beyond them. I want my students to understand their place in our community, have a sense of belonging, and give back to a community that has lifted so many of them. At the end of the day, I provide a place for any student to feel comfortable and safe while working to become a life-long learner and leader.” Congratulations, Hayden Bush, our NAAE Region I Outstanding Early Career Teacher Award Recipient.
Agricultural education is faced with a shortage of qualified teachers. Unless students studying at our nation’s teaching institutions enter and remain in the profession, a shortage of teachers will continue to exist. The Outstanding Early Career Teacher Award, formerly known as the NAAE Outstanding Young Member Award, recognizes innovative early career teachers with outstanding professional records, including participation in NAAE.
As a special project of the National FFA Foundation, John Deere sponsors this award program. In fact, John Deere has sponsored this recognition program for 44 consecutive years!