Wiggins teacher selected as Colorado Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Rockie Ernst, agricultural educator at Wiggins High School in Wiggins, Colo., was awarded the Colorado Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher Award. The award was presented at the Colorado Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association Annual Banquet at the CO Bank Ag Ed Center — Colorado State University on June 21.
This program distinguishes CVATA/NAAE members who are conducting the highest quality agricultural education programs. The award recognizes leadership in civic, community, agriculture/agribusiness and professional activities. Outstanding agricultural educators are innovators and catalysts for student success in agricultural education.
Ernst has served as the agriculture instructor/FFA adviser in the Wiggins School District since he began his career in 1985. He strives to work with his local advisory committee and FFA alumni to provide a well-rounded and quality program at Wiggins. He believes in providing students opportunities to meet their agricultural career goal or interest in the agriculture industry. Students are expected to carry out a Supervised Agriculture Experience Program which allows them to develop and strengthen skills in their chosen agriculture area.
The Wiggins FFA Chapter is very involved in local, district and state events. Ernst believes that developing leadership skills in his students is very important as well as being involved in local community events. This allows FFA members to give back to the community which ultimately becomes strong supporters of the Wiggins FFA and the agriculture education program. Students will utilize their leadership skills in their future even if they decide not to pursue an agricultural career.
Ernst not only expects his students to develop leadership and community service skills, but also strives to do so himself. He works alongside his members and branches out into the community, state and nation as well. He has assumed leadership roles at the district and state FFA levels as well as assisting several times at the national FFA level. He has also served several terms on his local church council. He enjoys assisting with community events in the Wiggins area as well.
Striving to continually develop his skills, Ernst annually participates in professional development workshops. This allows him to develop new ideas for his program as well as share his own ideas and skills with other ag instructors across the state and nation.
Ernst was also elected to serve as secretary for the Colorado Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association for the upcoming year. Serving as a CVATA officer is a three-year commitment in which one moves on to president elect and finally president. He served the CVATA from 2001-2004 as well. The CVATA officers work closely with Team Ag-Ed to meet the needs of agriculture instructors across the state.
Ernst will now submit an application to Region II in the National Association of Agricultural Educators by next May. His application will be reviewed along with six others from Region II (Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico). The top applicant will then be recognized at the NAAE National Convention in December 2019. ❖