Agricultural and extension education alumna receives national teaching award

Jack Ouligian
October 13, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Every year, the National Teach Ag Campaign selects individuals and organizations that diligently serve the agricultural education profession as National Teach Ag Champions.

The campaign, an initiative of the National Association of Agricultural Educators, honors those who have gone above and beyond to recruit and retain high-quality and diverse agriculture teachers, while fostering positive classroom environments. That recognition encourages students from all backgrounds to become involved in agriculture.

Earlier this year, Krista Pontius, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural and extension education from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, was named one of three 2020 National Teach Ag Champions.

Pontius, who teaches agriculture at Greenwood High School in Millerstown, credited her time at Penn State with laying the groundwork for her success.

“The preparation received at Penn State to become an agriculture teacher is world class,” she said. “The personal network that is created in preparation for one’s future career is second to none, and I am forever grateful for my education at Penn State.”

Krista Pontius

Krista Pontius, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural and extension education from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, was named one of three 2020 National Teach Ag Champions.

IMAGE: Krista Pontius

Since graduation, Pontius has involved herself in an extensive range of activities in addition to her regular classroom duties. As a National Association of Agricultural Educators mentor facilitator, she helps current and future agriculture teachers develop inquiry-based instruction modules for their students. She also facilitates numerous inquiry-based workshops across the country as a National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador.

Additionally, Pontius serves as a mentor for teachers in the association’s XLR8 program, a year-long professional development program for agriculture teachers between their seventh and 15th years of teaching.

“Teaching, whether it’s the students in my own classroom or preservice teachers or other agriculture teachers across this country, is truly my life’s calling,” Pontius said. “Every kid is just one caring adult away from being a success, and I hope to be that adult for students.”

Pontius also emphasized the importance of her material. “Agriculture is truly the backbone of our economy and our nation,” she said. “It is so important to educate future consumers to respect the industry and to ensure that it continues to thrive while working every day to feed our growing world.”

At Penn State, Daniel Foster, associate professor of agricultural and extension education, held up Pontius’s professional career as a benchmark for future students to meet.

“Agriscience educators like Krista Pontius set the bar of excellence that we point to for our current and future agricultural and extension education majors at Penn State,” he said. “Our challenge is to help coach up, prepare and launch — on their individual professional journeys — the next generation of Krista Pontiuses who will find their communities, their programs and their students through which they will change the world.”

More information about Teach Ag! at Penn State is available by following @TeachAgPSU on social media platforms or by visiting the program's website at https://aese.psu.edu/teachag.

 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 13, 2020