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Kansas Foundation for
Agriculture in the Classroom

2021 KFAC Teacher of the Year Winner

MANHATTAN, Kan. – July 30, 2020Kacie Lockyear, a Kindergarten teacher at Country View Elementary in Winfield, was recently named the 2021 Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year by Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC).

KFAC’s Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year award recognizes teachers who instill passion for learning about agriculture within their students. KFAC honors one teacher annually who has successfully integrated agricultural education into his or her pre-existing curriculum. 

Lockyear is in her 9th year of teaching where she devotes classroom time to learning life skills and assists other teachers in doing the same. At the kindergarten level, most learning is through speaking and listening. Lockyear’s students had the opportunity to learn from listening to guest speakers from the agricultural community and participating in hands-on activities. 

As a redesign school, Country View chose to incorporate agriculture into their redesign plan with project-based learning using direct instruction coupled with modeling which led students to the primary responsibility of caring for animals and crops.

Each class had different responsibilities such as feeding the bucket calf, collecting eggs from the chickens, or tending the crops. The expectation for the 5th grade class was to sell eggs and engage in a small business experience.

“The goal was to provide agricultural experiences and activities for our students that crossed curricular lines and encompassed all age groups,” Lockyear says. “The ultimate goal, that was realized this year, was to have animals living and crops growing on our school grounds.”

Students at Country View Elementary had the opportunity to learn life lessons, some exciting and some more difficult. They were able to learn about grief and the great support provided by the national agricultural community. 

The community has also been very generous in providing Country View with resources to make this project possible. Many professionals offered their time to teach students, make videos and offer their insight to this new program. 

Lockyear will be recognized during the 2020 KFAC Annual Meeting to be held in Manhattan in November and will receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2021 National Agriculture in the Classroom conference to be held in Des Moines, Iowa. Lockyear will also be considered for the 2021 National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award, presented by National Agriculture in the Classroom.

Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Excellence in Teaching Awards

In addition to the KFAC Teacher of the Year, four teachers will be recognized during the KFAC annual meeting with an Excellence in Teaching award sponsored by the Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The Excellence in Teaching awards are given to exemplary teachers who integrate agriculture into their classroom lessons and curriculum. 

Heather Brown is a second-grade teacher at Belinder Elementary School. Brown purchased a tower garden for her classroom to teach students about aeroponics systems. She incorporated vocabulary, reading, writing, math and science into her tower garden lessons. At the end of the year, students enjoyed the benefits of their harvest with a salad party. 

Marci Alford, a Kindergarten teacher, uses a variety of methods to help students learn about agriculture. She provides books for students to investigate on their own, delivers new information for them to use in making connections, and incorporates hands-on activities to enhance learning. Hands-on activities have included everything from crafts to planting crops and have been a game changer for her elementary classroom in Hickok. 

Kris Jenkins is a Pre-K teacher at Nickerson Elementary School. Jenkins is fortunate in having the Kansas State Fair close to their school. She likes to start off every school year with a farm animal unit and a field trip to the fair where students get to see the animals up close. Her students have loved figuring out the importance of agriculture in their lives while learning about crops, gardens, and life cycles.

James Hammett teaches high school science at Maize High School where he deploys project-based hands-on learning to focus on real world topics in Kansas. He uses animal husbandry to teach the core principles of biology utilizing chickens, quail and catfish. Hammett has opened his students’ eyes to the breadth of careers in agriculture which has increased agricultural class enrollment and steered students to the agricultural career pathway. 

Each of these winners will receive their choice of a $600 scholarship to attend the 2021 NAITC conference or a $200 gift certificate to purchase classroom supplies. 

More information about these awards, including past winners, can be found on the KFAC website at www.ksagclassroom.org

About Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom

The Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. KFAC was founded in 1982 as part of a nationwide initiative to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society, so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies. For more information, visit www.ksagclassroom.org or phone (785) 320-4350.