Casteel Edwards, agricultural educator at Logan-Rogersville High School, was one of a select group of agriculture teachers nationwide who received the 2017 Teachers Turn the Key (TTTK) professional development scholarship from the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE).
As a scholarship recipient, Edwards attended the NAAE annual convention Dec. 5-9 in Nashville, Tennessee. The TTTK scholarship brings together agricultural educators with four or fewer years of experience and immerses them in three days of professional development that addresses issues specific to the early years of teaching agriculture. Participants also have the opportunity to become involved in NAAE leadership and network with other NAAE convention attendees. TTTK awardees come away from the experience with a long-lasting peer cohort and tools that will help them have successful careers as agricultural educators.
“It was a great opportunity to represent Missouri and Logan-Rogersville in Nashville,” said Edwards. “The professional development program that I went through at the conference was terrific. I brought back several new strategies to use in my classroom.”
Edwards’ teaching philosophy is “Success doesn’t come before work anywhere but in the dictionary.” She sets high expectations for students and has seen a positive outcome through this approach.
“Cassie Edwards has a very outgoing personality which draws students to her,” said Jana Lee, a member of the Logan-Rogersville High School FFA Booster Club.
Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE), which are student-led, work-based experiences, have an important role within agricultural education. Edwards has worked diligently to help students choose and complete an SAE and also helps them apply for awards related to SAE completion through the FFA organization. In 2016, she had 22 students fill out an award and 10 of them were area winners for their category. One way she continues to support SAE’s and student success is through setting aside an hour during the school day for students to work on their records.
Edwards continuously seeks out professional development opportunities, like the Teachers Turn the Key scholarship. She has also attended many summer institutes, which have helped her grow as a professional and hone her teaching abilities. Through networking with other agricultural educators she has gained new content which she incorporates into her lessons.
“Mrs. Edwards has exceeded my expectations for a beginning teacher and she is a strong advocate for the agricultural education,” said Logan-Rogersville High School principal Teresa McKenzie.
In addition to attending professional development, each of the TTTK scholarship recipients was also recognized at a general session during the NAAE convention. RAM Trucks sponsors the TTTK 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, Kentucky.