During National Agriculture Week, March 19-25, Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) announced Clare-Gladwin RESD agriculture teacher Anthony Wood as its 2023 Educator of the Year.
The award will be formally presented at MFB’s 104th State Annual Meeting in December.
As this year’s winner, Wood earns a scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference and a $500 classroom grant from the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, sponsored by Agroliquid.
Wood has worked tirelessly to bring the dream of having agricultural science classes and an FFA Chapter back to Clare and Gladwin counties. He works to bring agricultural experiences to his students while helping them gain life leadership skills through classwork and FFA activities.
Each summer, he teaches courses during CTE Camp, a chance for middle schools to experience the vast world of agriculture and natural resource careers in just three days. Through Wood’s collaboration with the county fair organizations, the Clare-Gladwin FFA Chapter has a presence at the Clare County Fair allowing student to exhibit skills gained in the classroom during the livestock shows.
“Tony has a passion for agriculture that he works extremely hard to pass onto students. He often challenges students to look at traditional and non-traditional aspects of agriculture,” said Clare County Farm Bureau Board member Sarah Hollon, who nominated Wood for the award.
Wood’s teaching doesn’t stop at the classroom doors. His students raise swine, cattle, poultry and rabbits on the school grounds, bringing curriculum standards to life in very real ways.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is seeing the growth of students in so many different areas,” Wood said. “Students have the opportunity to not only build their agricultural skills and understanding but also their leadership and employability skills.”
Not only does he teach about animal nutrition, anatomy, and proper handling, but he also uses these projects to teach the economics of raising livestock. Wood also helps students see the costs associated with agriculture and realize there are many on- and off-farm jobs available as future careers.
“I love seeing a student who was once reluctant to speak in front of the class build the confidence to compete in an FFA Leadership contest, or a student that has not had the opportunity to raise an animal get involved in a livestock project,” Wood added.
“Another area that is very rewarding is helping to facilitate the connection between my students and local farms, ag businesses, and organizations for job shadow, work-based learning, and volunteer opportunities.”
MFB’s Educator of the Year Award recognizes teachers who excel at integrating agriculture and natural resource concepts into school curricula and who challenge students to develop critical thinking skills through the analysis of agricultural issues and information. Teachers are nominated annually by county Farm Bureaus for this award.
Sponsorship for this award is provided by the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, a 501(c)(3) governed by Michigan Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors, which positively contributes to the future of Michigan agriculture through leadership and educational programming.