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WIU School of Agriculture Director Andy Baker, center, is pictured with WIU alumni Riley Hintzsche and Trent Taber.
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WIU Agriculture Education Program Honored by NAAE

August 6, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University's Agricultural Education academic program was recently awarded the Region 4 "Outstanding Postsecondary Agriculture Program" by the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE).

Additionally, WIU alumnus Trent Taber '15 was honored for having the "Outstanding Middle/Secondary Agriculture Program" at Cambridge High School in Cambridge, IL. Riley Hintzsche '14 was in the running for the "Outstanding Early Career Teacher" award for his work at Streator High School, but was not selected. He was the Illinois state winner, which made him eligible to compete for the Region 4 award.

"We were thrilled and honored to have a WIU triple threat represent the state of Illinois at the Region 4 NAAE competition," said WIU School of Ag Director Andy Baker.

NAAE's Region 4 comprises six states, including Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Baker said the first step in the process is to be selected by IAVAT (Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers) to represent the state of Illinois. The recipient then has to put together an application to move on to the regional competition.

Applications from the six states in Region 4 are then evaluated and a winner is selected. NAAE announces the regional winners as their national selections. The regional winners will be recognized during the NAAE conference in New Orleans during the first week in December.

Both Taber and Hintzsche graduated from WIU's Agricultural Education program and Baker said both have worked very hard to be recognized both by IAVAT and the NAAE organizations.

"The 'Outstanding Postsecondary Agriculture Program' award is a true reflection of the type of students this program attracts," he said. "They are hardworking, humble individuals that truly care about their students' successes. This is an award all WIU Agricultural Education graduates can be proud of and share in. Teaching is a challenging and rewarding profession, so if you put in the hard work, you will be recognized for your efforts."

For more information about the WIU School of Agriculture, visit

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