Mary Hoffmann and Harley Braun attended the 71st annual convention of the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

Mary Hoffmann, agriculture teacher at Sleepy Eye High School, along with Harley Braun, future agriculture teacher and SEHS graduate, attended the 71st annual convention of the National Association of Agricultural Educators, Dec. 3 to 7 in Anaheim, Calif.

At the NAAE Convention, Hoffmann and Braun joined more than 750 agricultural educators in determining the direction of the national association for the upcoming year. Attendees participated in committee meetings and general sessions to learn about the current state of agricultural education.

Hoffmann and Braun also participated in continuing education workshops developed by peers and agricultural education leaders that brought attendees up-to-date on current teaching practices and innovations in agricultural education. While in attendance, Hoffmann and Braun were able to attend the National Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Conference as well.

Braun was selected for the Future Agriscience Teacher Symposium and participated in a five-day event that focused on creating an inclusive classroom environment, inquiry-based learning, classroom management, professional development, and collegiality. Braun will be finishing her Ag. Ed. Degree requirements this spring with a student teaching experience.

Hoffmann just finished her second year of service as the Region III NAAE Vice President. While at the conference in Anaheim, Hoffmann attended board meetings, professional development programming, awards lunches and dinners, committee meetings, and ran the Region III meetings.

For Hoffmann’s position on the NAAE Board, in which she will serve for one more year, she represents all of the Region III Ag. Teachers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Nebraska. She is also the board consultant for the Policy & Bylaws Committee, will run the Region III Conference meetings, and attend NAAE Board meetings and functions. There are six regions in the NAAE, each being made of up states grouped by geographic area.

“It is an honor to continue to lead and represent Region III Ag Teachers in the NAAE Organization. This organization is essential to Ag. Teachers and I am looking forward to my next year of service as Vice President,” said Hoffmann. “The profession of Agricultural Education is facing several challenges, including a shortage of Ag. Teachers and burnout. It is my hope to come up with ways to improve teacher work life balance, as well as plan for recruiting more students to choose Ag. Education as a future career.”

Braun said, “Attending the NAAE convention for the first time, through the FAST program, was an unforgettable experience! I loved meeting with pre-service teachers from other universities, learning from professional development sessions, and being inspired by award winning teachers from across the country. I cannot wait to further participate in this outstanding professional development organization!”