Laingsburg developmental kindergarten teacher Angie Mills is Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) 2022 Educator of the Year. She received her award during MFB's 103rd State Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids on Nov. 29.
Her journey using agriculture in lessons started with a donation of FARM Crates — an educational outreach effort from Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom — to her class at Laingsburg Early Childhood Center, part of Laingsburg Community Schools in Shiawassee County.
Each crate contained a story book, lesson plan, worksheets, videos of Michigan farmers, and materials for a grade-appropriate lesson. Mills used each month’s lesson subscription box to immerse her young students in the agricultural resources surrounding their community and built upon each month’s theme, integrating the agricultural topic into nearly all subjects for her students.
Mills said she wants her students to understand where their food comes from and be thankful for the hard work farmers do.
“When you walk into the grocery store, the kids don't realize — especially at age five — where their food is coming from. They just think it's coming from the grocery store,” Mills said. “I want them to understand where their food is coming from, whether it's the ground or the animals, and the kids have just loved learning about that and are appreciating it and wanting to care for the land.”
Mills’ enthusiasm for working with Shiawassee County farmers developed into a March is Reading Month partnership, future essay or poster contests, and planned participation in future farm field trips.
“Critical thinking fosters creativity, problem solving, and curiosity,” wrote Shiawassee County Farm Bureau President Tim Kiesling in his nomination of Mills for the award. “Mrs. Mills is using agricultural connections to help students connect with the world around them and bringing other teachers along too. We are excited to participate in March is Reading Month agricultural book reading at the school and build future partnerships because of Angie’s work.”
As this year’s winner, Mills earns a scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference as well as a $500 classroom grant from the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, sponsored by Agroliquid. The award will be formally presented to Mills at Michigan Farm Bureau’s 103rd State Annual Meeting in December.
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.