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2013 Outstanding Ag in the Classroom Teacher

For Immediate Release:  August 5, 2013

PA Farm Bureau Selects Outstanding Ag in the Classroom Teacher


Sharon Baillie (left) of Washington County, who was presented the 2013 Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, receives congratulations and a check for supplies and materials from Melanie Fink of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's Young Farmer and Rancher Committee.

(State College) – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) Committee has named a Washington County educator as the Outstanding Ag in the Classroom Teacher Award winner.

Sharon Baillie, who teaches classes in family and consumer sciences at the Burgettstown Middle/High School, used agriculture as the foundation of numerous lessons, including fashion design, natural fibers and interior design utilizing Pennsylvania hardwoods.

Baillie, who lives on a 40-acre crop farm near Avella, received the award (and a $550 prize for supplies and materials) at a recent Ag in the Classroom workshop held this summer in State College.  The recognition honors Pennsylvania educators who have developed creative and innovative ways to use agriculture education in their everyday curriculum.

“I teach my students that farmers feed them and also supply many of the sustainable resources for the homes they live in and the clothes they wear,” said Baillie.

Baillie used a hands-on approach in the classroom, bringing in various Pennsylvania farm commodities to teach her family and consumer science courses.  Baillie also funded a greenhouse and school garden through a National Education Association Foundation grant.  Students were able to taste vegetables in the spring and come back in the fall to taste food they grew in the garden and greenhouse.

“The Outstanding Teacher Award is given to a teacher who has participated in an Ag in the Classroom teacher workshop and has demonstrated new and innovative ways of incorporating agriculture into the classroom.  Sharon did an outstanding job of bringing farming to her classroom over the past year,” said Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Carl Shaffer.   

“Pennsylvania farmers are committed to helping secure the future of agriculture through educating students about food, from how it’s produced to how it reaches their dinner plates.  By supporting programs such as Ag in the Classroom, we provide an opportunity for elementary and secondary school teachers to learn about the many facets of modern farming and encourage those teachers to pass that information on to their students when they return to the classroom,” added Shaffer.

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of more than 58,300 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.