Fairmont High School hired a second Ag teacher this year to meet the growing number of students interested in agriculture.
Cassandra Brown is originally from Auburn, Iowa, where she grew up on a pig and row culture.
“My father lived on the farm all his life and raised my brother and me on the farm with my mother. Agriculture has always been an important part of our being. “ She said.
She joined the FFA in high school and shared that the Ag teacher she had in high school was also her father’s Ag teacher.
“That was a good connection. I found where I fit in and where I could do the competitions and the lectures. It became my thing “ said Braun.
After graduating from high school, she served as a state official with the Iowa FFA Association and as a result, she was exposed to the classroom and seeing the various things Ag teachers were doing in their classrooms.
“That really caught my attention and I realized that I can further influence the employees in the Ag in a classroom.” said Braun.
She attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, graduating in 2009 with a degree in Agricultural Education and Life Sciences.
Upon graduation, she accepted a position as an Ag teacher in Indianola, Iowa. There she was also the FFA advisor. She shared what sparked her interest in Fairmont.
“My husband comes from Grätzinger, which is just across the border. We wanted to be closer to home, so we looked for opportunities that were closer to family. “ She said.
Her husband is a veterinarian and works at the Fairmont Vet Clinic. Brown said he started in April and she came later after finishing the school year at her previous school. The couple live on a farm across the border.
As for the need to add a second Ag teacher to the high school, Fairmont High School co-director Alex Schmidt said the number of students in the Ag classes has increased and they are also giving all middle school students the opportunity wanted to take an agriculture course, and they needed a second teacher to make this possible.
This year, all 7th and 8th grade students take a semester ag and ag is an optional subject for students in grades 9-12. Ag courses on offer include landscaping, animal sciences, and farming exploration.
“As an agricultural community, we wanted all students to get more attention. Many children hear agriculture and think of pigsties, corn fields or soybeans. We are trying to expand their knowledge of what agriculture is. “ Schmidt explained.
He said that seventh and eighth graders take all classes in family and consumer studies, arts, STEM, and technology to learn as much as possible at a young age.
Brown will teach all eighth graders and some high school classes while Fairmont’s other Ag teacher, Katie Elder, will teach all seventh graders and some high school classes. Both will act as FFA advisors.
Brown stressed the importance of teaching Ag courses to younger students.
“We all eat and we all have clothes and fuel in our cars. It (Ag) really affects everyone and it’s about exposing and educating the people around us. “
Brown looks forward to teaching in person this school year. She said it was especially tough for teachers in the vocational departments during the pandemic.
“Working in an Ag department or a woodworking workshop is very practical. That made it difficult to teach remotely because we have labs and a welder who had to be in hand or grow flowers in a greenhouse and that wasn’t an option during Covid. “ She explained.
She said it challenged her kind of teachers to find new ways to spread this information, but ultimately she believes Covid helped them grow as educators.
Brown is not only interested in agriculture, but the community as well, and looks forward to expanding Fairmont’s FFA program.
“Living to serve is a line in the FFA motto. I want students to know what it is like to serve others and have an impact on the community. “ She said.
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