Educator Nancy Bell at North Montgomery High School was recently named Outstanding Agriculture Teacher of the Year by the Indiana Association of Agricultural Educators.
Named so for the state of Indiana, Bell now moves on to the National Association of Agricultural Educators regional contest.
Since the fall of 2001, the Veedersburg dairy farm native has been teaching agriculture at North Montgomery. The daughter of dairy farmers, Bell has been an active instructor in the district’s Future Farmers of America club and judges multiple competitions each year for the Montgomery County 4-H Fair.
Additionally, Bell has sat on the steering committee Agriculture Advisory Board at Ivy Tech Community College in Crawfordsville and was a board member for the Indiana Guernsey Breeder Association for five years.
“I am honored to receive this award — I’ve looked up to numerous agriculture teachers who, in the past, have received this same award,” Bell said. “I hope I too can be a mentor to a younger agriculture teacher to work hard and to strive for becoming the next Outstanding Agriculture Teacher in Indiana.”
The Purdue University graduate has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture and has spent her entire teaching career educating future farmers.
“With teaching for 20 years at the same school, you experience highs and lows, but what sticks out the most are the students and FFA members,” Bell said. “I have seen former students and members shine after high school or college. I find joy in talking to them and seeing what all they are doing in their communities.
“I just hope that when they were in school that something stuck with them from either class time or FFA activities that they can take and use at their job, business or in their family life,” she added. “I am blessed to work at North and have a very well-rounded FFA chapter.”
Bell said she tries to involve others in her instruction to give students every chance possible, and for her self to continue learning, as well.
“(Agriculture) is changing daily and you’re always trying to make sure your curriculum follows the changes of the times,” Bell said. “I utilize a lot of guest speakers ... and student teachers to come into my classroom to teach, of which I learn from them and them from me, which makes a great learning opportunity for both of us.”
Bell now resides in Colfax where, in her spare time, she operates dairy farm Clear Weather Farms with her family.
The Bells also produce pumpkin, mums, straw, gourds and corn shocks, while allowing the farm to be used in support of farming students.
“This past spring the North Montgomery FFA had left over Spring Sale items, so we opened up the yard to sell those items, of which 100 percent went back to the chapter,” she said.
In her application to the IAAE, Bell said she strives to give every student every opportunity she can provide.
“I am continually updating my curriculum and incorporating new strategies, activities and technologies in the classroom,” she said.
For more information about the upcoming regional contest, visit www.naae.org.