CoAITC Outstanding Teacher Award
The Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom (CoAITC) Outstanding Teacher Award is given to an educator currently engaged in classroom instruction at the preK-12 grade levels. This award recognizes the teacher for his/her creative efforts to integrate agriculture into his/her classroom and curricula to increase agricultural literacy. An agriculturally literate person is defined as "one who understands and can communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects our quality of life."
The winning Colorado teacher will receive a $500 monetary award and have up to $1,500 of his/her related expenses paid to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom (NAITC) Conference June 24-27, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- If the winning teacher chooses not to attend the NAITC Conference, he/she will receive the $500 monetary award from the CoAITC, but he/she will not receive the $1,500 designated for travel expenses. The runner-up CFA Outstanding Teacher Award winner will be offered the designated travel funds of up to $1,500 to attend the NAITC Conference.
- If the winning teacher is selected as a National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award Winner and the NAITC Organization pays for his/her expense to attend the NAITC Conference, the runner-up Outstanding Teacher Award Winner from Colorado will have the opportunity to have up to $1,500 of his/her travel expense paid to attend the NAITC Conference.
- Colorado licensed teachers that are currently engaged in integrating agricultural concepts into non-agricultural education settings at the PreK-12 grade levels are eligible. Applications may be from an individual or a team of teachers working together. Please note that only one award and prize totaling $2,000 will be made per team. High school and middle school agricultural educators are not eligible for this award.
- The size of an educator's class or school and geographical location are not factors of the selection criteria. An educator from a small school or a rural school has equal chance of winning as one from a large or urban school.
- Past winners (since 2018) of the CoAITC Outstanding Teacher Award are not eligible to win again. Past applicants that did not win are encouraged to resubmit their application in following years.
Applications must be completed and submitted by midnight on November 15, 2023.
Cindy Staheli Pearson, 2020
Cindy Staheli Pearson of Loma, Colorado was the 2020 CoAITC Outstanding Teacher Award winner. Mrs. Pearson has been a third grade teacher at Loma Elementary for 12 years and finds creative ways to tie agriculture into everything she teaches. Loma Elementary is part of Mesa County Valley School District 51. Pearson adds agriculture concepts into units for reading, writing, science, social studies, math, and even art. One of the students’ favorite activities is a writing project called "Flat Aggies." Students are paired up with farmers, ranchers, and agriculture-related businesses all over the United States and Canada. The students make a paper doll character of themselves and write letters asking questions about their counterparts’ agriculture business. Their counterpart replies back, answering the questions, and including photos of their "Flat Aggie" on various adventures.
Andy Klatt, 2019
National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award Winner
Andy Klatt of Windsor, Colorado was a 2019 National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award Winner. Mr. Klatt is a physical education teacher at Grandview Elementary in Windsor. He has the unique opportunity to teach agricultural literacy concepts to all of the kindergarten through 5th grade students in his school. And he has extended that reach to his community and the Windsor School District. Klatt’s efforts to teach agricultural concepts begin with the school garden. This past year the garden received a $96,000 remodel and upgrade, with the help of 25 Windsor-area businesses and organizations donating the supplies and other necessary assistance to complete the renovation project. Each grade level plants and cares for the different sections of the garden, which Klatt ties into concepts they learn in their other classes. The students eat or otherwise use everything they grow.