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Tennessee Agricultural Education Advisor Receives National Award

Thursday, February 23, 2006 | 06:00pm

Nashville , TN- The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) recently honored Tennessee Agricultural Education Advisor Steven Gass with the Outstanding Service Citation Award in recognition of his contributions to his field. NAAE is the professional association for agricultural educators housed at the University of Kentucky in Lexington .

“ Steven’s vision and dedication has been instrumental in keeping agriculture programs in Tennessee both rigorous and relevant,” Assistant Commissioner for Vocational-Technical Education Ralph Barnett said. “He has provided outstanding leadership to the approximately 200 vocational agriculture teachers and 13,000 FFA members in Tennessee .”

Gass is one of just six educators in the nation selected to receive the award. He taught agricultural education at Cookeville High School from 1989 to 1999 and now serves as the agricultural education program consultant for the Tennessee Department of Education. In that capacity, Gass has developed learning tools on the computer for teachers and students, worked to increase FFA membership and helped expand agricultural education programs offered in Tennessee schools.

Agricultural education prepares students for careers in areas such as agricultural engineering, biotechnology and agriscience. Enrollment in agricultural education programs has increased 15 percent since Gass joined the Department. Ninety-four counties in the state, rural and urban, are home to one or more FFA student chapters.

The Outstanding Service Citation Award is sponsored by the Animal Agriculture Alliance.

Gass is the son of Kyle Gass and Don and Sarah Sparks of Mosheim , TN. He is a graduate of West Greene High School , where he was introduced to agricultural education by Don Swanay. Gass lives with his wife Patty Dobbs in Murfreesboro , TN. They have three children: Jennifer, Tommy and Abby.

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