K-ACTE Award Winners 2017


Young Teacher of the Year – State: John Bergin

 

John Bergin is an Agricultural Educator and FFA Advisor at Mission Valley High School, in Eskridge, KS. He will be entering his ninth year of teaching Ag Ed this fall.

 

Last fall, Mission Valley was recognized as the National Outstanding Middle and Secondary Program of the Year Award. John teaches three CASE classes and incorporates STEM foundations in every course he teaches. The program is very well rounded in the three-circle model of Ag Education. The FFA Chapter has a nationally recognized program of activities and is strong in several career development events. John’s favorite FFA events include Agricultural Sales, Dairy Cattle, and BotsKC (battle bots). Mission Valley has received 10 state level proficiency award winners and three national finalists over the last three years.

 

Helping advance and advocate for the profession is a passion of John’s. As a CASE Master Teacher, John facilitates conferences for agricultural educators across the nation in specific content areas. He also serves as the KAAE Legislative co-chair to advocate for public policy that is in the best interest of Ag Ed and CTE.

 

John is very interested in seeing CTE work together to best build a strong workforce. He helps his wife, Gina, with her FCCLA chapter at Mission Valley and has served as a chaperone and judge at State Leadership Conference. John and Gina have a two-year-old, Andy, with a second child on the way. As a family, they enjoy cheering on KSU and Mission Valley Athletics. 


Young Teacher of the Year – Affiliate: Linda Swan

 

Linda Swan likes to tell her students, she is an “old” new teacher, having entered teaching rather late in life. She was a newspaper reporter and columnist having graduated with high distinction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism in 1987. Later she entered youth-related work through her community and church which sparked her interest in education. Returning to college, she decided to teach in a field that would allow her to help students be successful in the areas of life that affect us all: handling relationships, money, health and children.

 

Swan graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kansas State University in 2011 with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences education. Her full-time teaching career began in the fall of 2011 at Udell Middle/High School. Currently, she is in her second year as FACS teacher at El Dorado High School where she started an FCCLA Chapter, and is working to strengthen her school’s Career and Technical Education programs and prepare students for the challenges and joys of adult life. She has been a Vice President for KATFACS for District I and recently started a 3-year term in support of District I FCCLA, currently serving as Assistant Adviser. She serves on her school district’s Tech Cadre, MTSS Team and Strategic Planning Committee.

 

Linda has been married to Michael Swan for 25 years and enjoys being mother to two college-aged children, William and Katherine. 


New Teacher of the Year – State: Lauren Van Allen

 

Lauren is the Agricultural Educator for Udall Middle/High School. She was hired in 2012 to restart the Agriculture Department, which had been dropped several years prior due to funding. Lauren is currently teaching seven courses throughout a six-hour school day. Students are offered courses in the Agriculture Science and Power, Structural, and Technology pathways. Her classes are full with 41% of the high school students in FFA.

 

In the classroom, Lauren teaches by incorporating three aspects, discussion, demonstration and application. Through education and learning students are given the tools to develop a deeper level of critical thinking, enabling them to problem-solve and endure different obstacles in the future. Her hope is that she will assist her students in developing a passion for agriculture and that they will work to advocate and education others about the industry. She strives to engage students in inquiry-based learning, in addition to project-based learning activities such as Veterinary Urinalysis, Floral Design Portfolios, Animal Feed Creation, Welding Projects Portfolios, and the Biotechnology in Agriculture Project.

 

Lauren’s students have become very competitive in district and state CDEs. Her chapter members won the inaugural state Novice Parliamentary Procedure Contest and participated in the SAEP National Invitational Contest. Her students are also involved in many local activities such as the Ag Reading Buddies Program, Labor Auction, Day on the Farm, Pink Out and Doggie Dash 5k for the local humane society. Students have also started the Ag Scholar’s Program to recognize members who excel in their educational endeavors. The chapter attends organized events such as State FFA Convention, SCCL, and National FFA Convention.

 

She is currently working on coursework for her Master’s Degree in Agricultural Education through the Great Plains Ag*Idea Program, giving her the opportunity to collaborate with Agriculture teachers and professors across the country. She has also been involved in the KAAE Affiliate, serving as co-chair of the KAAE Public Relations Committee as well as is a member of the NAAE Marketing Committee. 


New Teacher of the Year – Affiliate: Caitlin Callaway

 

Caitlin is the Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher at Louisburg High School in Louisburg, Kansas. She graduated from Pittsburg State University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education with a major in Family and Consumer Sciences. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Career and Technical Education with an emphasis in Family and Consumer Sciences, also from Pittsburg State University. Caitlin has a true appreciation for Career and Technical Education and has seen the impact it can have on the lives of students.

 

Caitlin started an FCCLA program at Louisburg High School in 2015 and serves as the advisor. For the first time in Louisburg history, she had FCCLA members competing in Star Events. All participants received either a gold or silver award and qualified for state. This year at Nationals her students received gold.

 

Caitlin and her members host a “Parent’s Nigh Out” event every other month for the community of Louisburg. For this event, flyers are sent out to the community for parents to sigh their children up for a night of fun. FCCLA members plan activities according to the age group they have been assigned and a foods group is in charge of safely creating a nutritious dinner for the children. The FCCLA also collaborates with the art department to host a “Painting and Pasta” event for the community. For this event, members prepare and serve guests as the art department guides guests through a painting. Caitlin’s culinary classes and FCCLA members collaborate with the LHS food service to host an annual “Senior Citizens Thanksgiving Dinner.” With an attendance range of 200-220, this dinner is one that senior citizens look forward to each year. Other projects include the Louisburg TedXYouth, school musicals and plays, Dining in the County, Blazin the Burg 5k and adopting families at Christmas. 


Teacher of the Year - State: Mike McConnell

 

Mike McConnell is the CTE teacher of Trade and Industrial Education for Newton High School where he has created a system in which students are given standards checklists that outlines specific task completion assignments. As students complete each task they are graded and the level of mastery is indicated on the sheet. This process is done individually for every student. This system of delivery requires instruction that is flexible, differentiated and personalized to meet diverse student learning styles, needs and interests.

 

Mike has completed coursework at the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, Ohio, where he earned his American Welding Society Certification. This certification licensed him to become a certified welding inspector. The Newton High School welding program is a full-fledged industry welding program that is supported by Hutchinson Community College. While in the program, students receive high school credit and can, upon completion of the program, ear 32 college credit hours free of charge and their AWS welding certificate.

 

An initiative that is being spearheaded is a new partnership with a local company, Excel Industries, a leading manufacturer of turf-care products. Excel is interested in creating an internship program that allows students to work at their company in the afternoon and evening hours. The student would commit to three weeks of 15-hour work-weeks for a total of 45 hours on the job. This position would be a paid internship. Students would be required to attend safety meetings prior to employment in addition to any training that is needed. After the 3-week internship, Excel can determine next steps for the student in terms of employment. The benefit being there is no commitment to hiring, all while determining the employability skills of the student without investing much money or time. The student benefits from the hands-on experience in the career field.

 

Mike also works with local businesses to create field trip opportunities and bring in industry experts to observe and talk with students. Through these partnerships students found employment immediately following high school graduation. 

Teacher of the Year - Affiliate: Jed Strnad

 

Jed Sturnad was the Agricultural Education Instructor and FFA Advisor at Russell High School. During his tenure at Russell High School he developed and adapted a curriculum for use in his program. Courses included Intro to Agriscience, Animal Science, Plant and Soil Science, Food Service, Ag Mechanics/Advanced Ag Mechanics and Ag Communication & Leadership.

 

In Food Science, Jed was able to integrate hands-on opportunities to spark interest in many up and coming careers. In Ag Mechanics, he was able to set aside some traditional “welding time” or Small Gas Engines for more cutting-edge technology such as global positioning and drones.  Hydroponics and Tropical plants were added to Plant Science in place of a portion of traditional crop production. He also began a push toward a paperless classroom with the use of Edmodo for assignments, tests and quizzes, as well as file sharing and peer editing with Google Drive.

 

Throughout his career, Jed has developed relationships with local businesses including the local co-op, beterinarians, auto parts stores, etc. The result being support for the program and FFA Chapter that allows students to have success in a variety of areas. The co-op has donated fertilizer and chemicals to benefit the school crop farm; veterinarians have provided not only assistance and expertise at the school livestock facility, but also participated in nationwide support programs, resulting in funding for the FFA Chapter.

 

Over the course of his career, Jed has been asked or have volunteered to host numerous FFA Career Development Events including Land and Homesite Evaluation, Food Science Technology, Entomology and Livestock Selection leading to high student achievement in these areas. In the area of Livestock Selection, he has had numerous district and regional winners and placing teams as well as one State Championship team and a fourth place National Team.

 

Jed has had the support of the Russell FFA Alumni to assist with training contest teams as well as contributions to make post-secondary education possible for more students through scholarships. In the last 10 years, their scholarship offerings have group from a yearly $250 offering to between $3,000-$4,000 now.


Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year: Dr. David Thompson

 

Dr. David Thompson is an Assistant Professor at Kansas State University in Family and Consumer Sciences Education. Dr. Thompson was initially brought into the program to work with the continual development of the senior internship program. Through the years, the program has developed to the point that it is seen by many other Family Science programs as being exemplary.

 

Just this spring, Dr. Thompson, adapted the program so that students may go anywhere they choose to do their internships. The use of Zoom live video enabled students to do internships in London, Chicago, and various other sites well away from campus. Teaming up with the Campus Career Center, students are provided training and support in job searching, proven highly effective with 97% of graduating seniors either employed or enrolled in graduate programs last year.

 

During his time at Kansas State, Dr. Thompson has helped a new major develop Student Learning Outcomes and effective means of measuring those outcomes in an assessment mechanism that has won University awards. Program assessment is based on a variety of measures, including internship site supervisor reports, rubrics developed for class assignments, and numerous points of data from seniors’ portfolios. He was a key member of a team that developed an undergraduate Research Methods class which began last year.

 

In the last year, Dr. Thompson was asked to take the initiative in developing a minor to complement the Family Studies and Human Services major. This minor allows students from across campus, including future FACS and public-school teachers, to gain a greater background and understanding of human development and the ecological and systematic forces impacting the individual and family. This measure has passed the University Academic Affairs and will soon be available. 

 

Recently, Dr. Thompson has provided opportunities for secondary students to experience college life in a “job-shadowing” program. Students interested in FACS or other careers can coordinate with Dr. Thompson and he brings them to campus for a full day introduction to members of the Dean’s Staff, Program Directors, and sit in on class sessions to witness the role of an instructor, and interview faculty of interest to their future plans.

 

In 2015, Dr. Thompson was recognized by the National Association of Teacher of Family and Consumer Sciences as their “Champion for FACS,” largely due to his role in bring local, state and national leaders in career and technical fields.

 

Administrator of the Year: Cathy Mong

 

Cathy Mong is a Teaching Specialist in Family and Consumer Sciences Education for Wichita Public Schools. Cathy’s work in developing standards-aligned and integrated curricula begins with her work on the state level where she participates in the Kansas State Department of Education Family and Consumer Sciences Higher Education Program Standards Review to ensure that new college graduates and potential employees have the skills and knowledge to teach. She has also participated in a yearly visioning committee to help align and guide FCS education from middle school, through high school, college and professional development opportunities. High state standards are maintained by working on the pathway review committee for each of the five pathways under her responsibility. At the district level, engaging instruction is facilitated by her maintenance of pacing guides, outlines, and instructional resources for twenty-seven Family and Consumer Sciences classes.

 

For the last six years, Cathy, has served on the YMCA Childcare and Camp Board. The Greater Wichita YMCA, a community partner, manages licensed child development centers in seven of the district’s high schools. Each year, approximately 150 CTE early childhood pathway students obtain training and experiences in these facilities.

 

Recently, Cathy’s passion for teaching drove her to push for the recognition of Educators Rising to help provide opportunities for students to explore teaching careers and to provide quality teachers for the future.  She has turned her focus on establishing a new CTSO for Kansas – Educators Rising. Due to her commitment to FCS and teaching as a profession, she has created an opportunity to ensure all teachers and future teachers have a network of like-minded individuals. Through this process, Cathy, served as a state coordinator of regional conferences, taking students to national meetings and contests. She also organized numerous meetings with the national Education Rising Director, KSDE and KS Board of Education. As of January, 2017, Educators Rising is now recognized as a CTSO in Kansas.

 

Carl Perkins Community Service Award: Jed Strnad

 

Since beginning his career, one of Jed’s goals has been to have a program that was recognized by the community for the good that it had accomplished. While serving others, students not only learn the value of work, but they also learn the value of giving to something greater than themselves, imparting a sense of satisfaction.  Under his direction, the Russell High School FFA Chapter has completed a variety of community service projects, many of which have worked well.

 

An example of a community project that has evolved over the years, is volunteering with the food pantry. It began with two to three students volunteering to carry numerous shipments as well as sort and organize food. Over the years, it has refocused to best meet the needs of the pantry with the volunteering occurring during the two busiest times of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Adopt-a-Highway was another program, students are able to clean a 2-mile stretch of I-70 in a little under an hour.

 

“Feeding Cattle for the Community” has been the longest running program, and has been in place for seven years. Over the course of the project, seven beef animals have been donated to the chapter for the purpose of raising to market weight and then donating the processed animal to the local food pantry. Students are responsible for the feeding and daily care of the animals. The Russell FFA Chapter pays for a portion of the feed, while other funding comes from the Russell County Area Community Foundation. The food pantry has been responsible to secure funding to pay for the processing of the animal. To date, the RHS Ag Program and FFA Chapter has donated seven animals , equating in over 2,200 pounds of ground beef to local families in need through this project.

 

Lifetime Achievement Award: Marian Cordill

 

Marian Cordill has retired after 42 years of teaching Family and Consumer Sciences Education. The last 37 years of her career, she taught at Buhler High School, with the first five years at Goodland High School. Throughout her career, she has been an FCCLA Advisor as well as serving three times as a District FCCLA Advisor, each of which were three year terms.

 

Marian has encountered many changes over the course of her career, from using magazine clippings to iPads, she embraced change in an effort to give her students the best education and class experience possible. In order to advocate for her students, continual change throughout her career was necessary.

 

In an effort to keep students engaged and learning, Marian, often invited guest speakers from business and industry within the community to share what is available and what they expect to see from their future employees. If available, she often took students to the businesses. Following the unity on job searching in the Career and Life Planning Class, she conducted mock interviews for the students. As a result of those mock interviews, she had a student who got a job from one of the mock interviewers.

 

At the local level, Marian tried to have her chapter members involved with service-related activities within both school and community along with their FCCLA activities. Over the years, projects have included making table centerpieces for our local Sunshine Meadow retirement home and spending the afternoon playing various cames to interact with the residents; washing windows of downtown merchants; staining the red wood siding at a local church; and cleaning the yards of several of the older residents in town. 


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