University News

Two WIU Ag Alumni Honored for Excellence in Agricultural Education

May 23, 2018

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MACOMB, IL – Two alumni of Western Illinois University's School of Agriculture have been honored by the Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers (IAVAT) and the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE).

Riley Hintzsche, a 2014 agriculture education graduate, from Streator High School, was awarded the NAAE Teachers Turn the Key Award, and Bryan Schullian, a 2010 agriculture education teacher, from Southeastern High School, was awarded the NAAE Outstanding Early Career Award.

Hintzsche said the Teachers Turn the Key Award is open to agriculture teachers who are in their second, third or fourth year of teaching. To be considered, he had to submit an overview of his program and other professional accomplishments, as well as his curriculum.

The award showcases five agriculture teachers, during Teacher Appreciation Week in May. It also included a visit to his classroom from the National Teach Ag Campaign.

"The goal of the visit from the National Teach Ag Campaign is to showcase the critical role of agricultural teachers and agricultural education programs play in our schools and communities," Hintzsche said. "Victoria Hamiliton, a representative from the National Teach Ag Campaign spent a day with me and my students highlighting the many components of our ag program. The National Teach Ag Campaign will use many forms of social media to take pictures, interview our students, post what is going on within the classroom, conduct Facebook Live interviews and so much more."

NAAE's Outstanding Early Career Award is sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. The award honors NAAE members who are in their third-seventh year of teaching. The award was designed to encourage young teachers to remain in the profession and encourage and recognize participation in professional activities.

"Western Illinois University has played a vital role in my career as an agriculture educator," said Schullian. "Many courses offered key curriculum that I now use in my classroom each year. Dr. Baker provided outside opportunities that allowed us to meet other educators and learn from their experiences, and we were encouraged to be involved in our professional organizations. WIU also provided a great placement for my student teaching and that got me started on the right track to be where I am today."

For more information about the awards, visit

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