The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) named J. Wes York, agriculture teacher at Caldwell County High School, as the 2017 ACTE Region II Teacher of the Year.
The award recognizes the finest career and technical education teachers at the middle/secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of career and technical education (CTE) in their institutions and communities.
York was born and raised in Caldwell County, where he was first introduced to agriculture on his grandparents’ dairy farm. After becoming involved in Future Farmers of America in high school, he was inspired to become an agricultural educator and currently teaches at his alma mater. Over 19 years, York has developed a keen ability to balance freedom and structure in his classrooms to provide students with a safe but challenging learning environment.
“I have never met a teacher who mentally and emotionally invests as much time and effort into each student as he does, no matter the situation or challenge,” said Kirstie Willis, former student and communications director for the Kentucky Corn Growers Association. “Teachers are expected to do many things, and Mr. York exceeds those set expectations by miles.”
In York’s tenure at Caldwell County, 11 students have been elected to regional offices (five of whom have served at the state level), eight Career Development Event teams have made their way to national competitions and his FFA teams have secured nearly two-dozen state champion and reserve championships. York takes advantage of the array of technology available to his students to research emerging trends in agriculture and to learn various processes through how-to videos.
York has been involved in several community efforts, including serving as an officer for the Kentucky Association of Agriculture Educators, as a member of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Organization and as an elected representative on the local school-based decision making council. In these roles, he has worked closely with groups such as the FFA Alumni, the local conservation district, Farm Bureau and the Optimist and Lions clubs, which has led to opportunities for his students to receive mentorship from experts on experiential learning opportunities, career paths, college selection and internships.
York is one of five finalists for the 2018 ACTE Teacher of the Year award. The national winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Banquet, which recognizes the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place Dec. 6 during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.