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CCSD Teacher Named Top Agriculture Educator in State!

Posted On: Tuesday, October 13, 2020

CCSD Georgia FFA Teacher of the Year 1

Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy teacher Karen Garland recently was surprised with the news that she is the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year! The surprise presentation by representatives from the Georgia and Cherokee County Farm Bureau offices included the presentation of cake and flowers. The title includes a $500 grant as well as an expense-paid trip to the 2021 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference next summer.

A Cherokee County School District teacher is the top agriculture educator in the State!

Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy teacher Karen Garland has been named the 2020 Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year by Georgia Farm Bureau. 

Ms. Garland, who teaches science lab classes to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, earned the statewide honor for her successful efforts in teaching her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives.  She earned a $500 cash prize and an expense-paid trip to the 2021 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference to be held next summer in Des Moines, Iowa.  She also is invited to present a workshop on her best practices at the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Educational Leadership Conference.

“I have witnessed firsthand that learning happens when children are excited, motivated and interested in the materials being presented,” said Ms. Garland, who is in her eighth year as a classroom teacher. “As an educator, my main role should be to offer meaning beyond the State standards being taught in a way that nourishes curiosity, creativity, compassion and other virtues.  I accomplish this with hands-on, inquiry-based learning and real-world experiences that build problem-solving and critical thinking skills.”

Her students learn about agriculture through such projects as planting vegetables in the school garden, monitoring their growth and journaling their observations.  Science concepts ranging from the water cycle to soil erosion are gleaned through their work, and following the harvest, students learn to cook simple recipes with their crops.  Another popular lesson involves incubating chicken eggs in the classroom to see them hatch and grow (Ms. Garland sets up a webcam so students can keep an eye on the chicks from home!).

“I use our school garden as a hands-on tool for food and nutrition education to teach children the importance of healthy eating while providing them important opportunities to get outdoors, since many of our students have shared that they have never put their hands in the dirt,” she said.

GFB Educational Coordinator Lauren Goble and Cherokee County Farm Bureau members recently surprised Ms. Garland at the school with flowers and a cake to announce her newest honor.

Cherokee Farm Bureau President William Grizzle nominated Ms. Garland for the award, as he and fellow volunteers and staff have worked with her on numerous agriculture education projects, including through the Farm to School Committee, which she has been a member of for six years.  Through the committee, Ms. Garland created the Cherokee County Farm to School Golden Shovel Award, which annually recognizes the best school garden in Cherokee County.

“Karen strives to instill in each student a curiosity and love for learning,” Mr. Grizzle said. “She does a great job of incorporating agriculture in her curriculum.”

The honor is the latest in a long list earned by Ms. Garland, who was named the Georgia Science Teachers Association 2020 Teacher of the Year for Elementary Schools in January, following earning her school’s 2020 Teacher of the Year title and being named one four finalists for the Cherokee County School District title.  She serves on the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia’s Board and has earned its Odum Lifetime Achievement Award.  A past Department of Natural Resources’ Georgia Conservation Teacher of the Year winner, Ms. Garland also has earned the title of Georgia Department of Education Science Ambassador.  Prior to joining the faculty at Clark Creek, Ms. Garland served as the Georgia Conservancy’s environmental education senior manager. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and the Cherokee County School Board will recognize Ms. Garland as the State’s top agriculture education teacher at their November meeting.

“Ms. Garland is growing young minds to better understand and appreciate agriculture through her science classes,” Dr. Hightower said.  “It’s important for children to learn the role agriculture plays in our daily lives and our world … and she digs into these lessons to find the fun that will engage her students and spark their curiosity.  We’re so proud of Ms. Garland for this honor, which she has earned through incredible dedication to her profession and her students.  Congratulations!”

#CCSDfam #CCSDunited

Celebrating the announcement that Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy teacher Karen Garland, fourth from left, is the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year are, from left to right, Cherokee County Farm Bureau (CCFB) member Lori Forrester, Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Coordinator Lauren Goble, Assistant Principal Jonathan Hall, CCFB member Liz Porter, Cherokee County Extension Agriculture Josh Fuder, CCFB member Mollie Guy and CCFB Program Coordinator Shirley Pahl.

Celebrating the announcement that Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy teacher Karen Garland, fourth from left, is the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year are, from left to right, Cherokee County Farm Bureau (CCFB) member Lori Forrester, Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Coordinator Lauren Goble, Assistant Principal Jonathan Hall, CCFB member Liz Porter, Cherokee County Extension Agriculture Josh Fuder, CCFB member Mollie Guy and CCFB Program Coordinator Shirley Pahl.

Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy teacher Karen Garland, shown teaching in her school garden last school year, is the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. ‘I use our school garden as a hands-on tool for food and nutrition education to teach children the importance of healthy eating while providing them important opportunities to get outdoors, since many of our students have shared that they have never put their hands in the dirt,’ she said.

Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy teacher Karen Garland, shown teaching in her school garden last school year, is the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. ‘I use our school garden as a hands-on tool for food and nutrition education to teach children the importance of healthy eating while providing them important opportunities to get outdoors, since many of our students have shared that they have never put their hands in the dirt,’ she said.

Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy teacher Karen Garland, shown teaching in her classroom last school year using vegetables grown by students in the school garden, is the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. ‘I have witnessed firsthand that learning happens when children are excited, motivated and interested in the materials being presented,’ she said.

Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy teacher Karen Garland, shown teaching in her classroom last school year using vegetables grown by students in the school garden, is the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. ‘I have witnessed firsthand that learning happens when children are excited, motivated and interested in the materials being presented,’ she said.
 





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