08/16/13 — Rosewood High School ag teacher named top in the state

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Rosewood High School ag teacher named top in the state

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 16, 2013 1:46 PM

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Allison Jennings

Allison Jennings, the state's top ag teacher, says she models much of her teaching style after those educators who have left an impression on her.

Growing up in Morehead City, the agriculture teacher at Rosewood High School did not come from a farming background -- her parents ran a campground on Emerald Isle, she said.

She said she always knew she wanted to be a teacher, but only later settled on the subject area.

"I had three really strong teachers and they really encouraged me," she said. "They just had this joy and passion for what they were doing. Their passion became my passion.

"The FFA is really what drew me in when I was in high school. The combination of ag education in the classroom and FFA, being able to show students a skill in the classroom and let them get the skills in the real world."

This year will mark her ninth year in the profession, all at Rosewood High.

She has already received several recognitions as an educator. In 2008-09, she was named Wayne County Public Schools' CTE (career and technical education) High School Teacher of the Year.

In 2010, she was named recipient of the North Carolina Outstanding Young Member Award, given by the National Association of Agricultural Educators to a teacher in the profession for less than six years who demonstrated significant progress toward establishing a successful agricultural education program.

And most recently, the professional organization for agricultural educators recently recognized Mrs. Jennings again, naming her the 2013 state winner of the Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher award.

The award recognizes leadership in civic, community and professional activities.

The next round of competition, at the national level, will take place at the NAAE convention, held in December in Las Vegas. If Mrs. Jennings is chosen as one of the top three finalists, she will travel there.

"It feels good that my peers, other ag teachers that I have looked up to for a long time, let me be the one that represents North Carolina at the national competition," she said of the recognition.

At Rosewood, she teaches animal science, horticulture, ag mechanics -- which includes shop work, welding, metalwork, woodworking, plumbing and concrete -- and agri-science, which covers environmental science and biotechnology.

As each new school year starts, she said she tries to take a new and fresh approach.

"This year, my focus is really on their (students') futures, making sure that what they're doing today is really preparing them for when they get out of high school, whichever route they decide to take," she said.

If there is anything that makes her stand out as an educator, she said she would hope it is those same things she learned while a high school student observing those already in the profession.

"Probably just my passion for students and their success," she said. "Trying to focus on that and realize they're an individual, not being afraid to take on new challenges."