Stacey Kunde, a teacher at Brillion High School, posed for a photo at the National Association of Agricultural Educators annual conference with Glenn Sims, center, of RAM Trucks and Nick Nelson, NAAE president.

Stacey Kunde, agricultural educator at Brillion High School in the Calumet County city of Brillion, was among a select group of agriculture teachers nationwide who received the 2018 Teachers Turn the Key professional development scholarship from the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

She and other scholarship recipients recently attended the NAAE annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.

The Teachers Turn the Key scholarship brings together agricultural educators with two to four 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. Teachers Turn the Key honorees come away from the experience with a long-lasting peer cohort and tools that will help them have successful careers as agricultural educators.

Kunde focuses her instruction around one question: “Why?” Why do certain diseases spread in specific patterns? Why are some animals raised as pets, while other animals are raised for food? Using this question-based approach, Kunde has improved her students’ ability to problem solve with greater efficiency.

Experiential learning is an important part of Kunde’s curriculum. Through collaboration with Fox Valley Technical College, her students are able to travel to the campus’ farm sites, where they may participate in labs, allowing them to gain applicable hands-on skills.

Students also have the ability to collaborate with community mentors to gain on-the-job experience. Through these opportunities, students become proficient in potential vocational areas while also developing educational and career planning abilities, which set them up for a lifetime of success.

Using this educational approach and philosophy, Kunde and her students have experienced many firsts at Brillion High School. Such firsts include: her first graduate attending a post-secondary institution for agricultural education, her first student receiving their American Degree at the 90th National FFA Convention, her first Bingo Night hosted by the Brillion FFA Chapter members, and her first student-run school garden.

In addition to attending professional development, the Teachers Turn the Key scholarship recipients were recognized at a general session during the NAAE convention.