Recorder News staff

FONDA — A Fonda-Fultonville Central School District educator who was awarded the Teacher Turn the Key Scholarship, shared her experience at the National Association of Agricultural Educators Conference with Board of Education members last week.

Sheri Boardman, the district’s agriculture teacher, visited Las Vegas in November with more than 700 other teachers from across the country. A total of 37 states were represented at the conference and Boardman was selected as the New York state recipient. Winning the scholarship gave her an all expense paid trip to the convention. Boardman said she was able to hear from veteran agriculture teachers who “are fantastic at what they do.”

“They shared opportunities with us and the tricks of the trade that they learned over time,” Boardman said.

She learned that there is a shortage of agriculture teachers in the nation. In the next two years, New York state will need 72 agriculture teachers due to retirements, new programs and teachers dropping out of the profession.

“That was really eye-opening to me,” she said.

Boardman said the conference gave her a fantastic networking opportunity, along with new lesson plan ideas and time management skills. There were over 80 workshops to attend and participants were challenged to improve their teaching and immerse themselves in time management activities, she said.

Boardman also gave an update on the agriculture program at F-FCS. She said the group has been doing lots of fundraising activities, teaching middle school students who may be interested in the program and creating an agricultural diversity committee. Each agriculture program across the state is supposed to select a committee which consists of community members who are business owners or involved with agriculture.

“We are in the beginning steps of that process,” she said.

F-FCS started an agriculture program last year.

Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio said Boardman is trying to reach out to local businesses to try and partner them with students to give them some real world application.

“We are very pleased with the way things are going,” he said. “We hope to continue to grow the program.”