LOXTON High School agriculture teacher Justine Fogden has been recognised for her contribution to the industry, named winner of the Agricultural Teachers Association of SA's award for excellence.
ATASA president Sue Pratt said the award was based on innovative teaching, leadership and great contribution and Ms Fogden had "met all three criteria".
"We have all benefited from her strong curriculum leadership and her no-nonsense assessment of SACE requirements including the production of the Teacher Help booklet for External Assessments," she said.
Ms Pratt said Ms Fogden had also been involved in mentoring other teachers across the state, as well as contributing greatly to the SA Junior Heifer Expo, outside of school.
Ms Fogden began teaching in 1994, first at Kadina for three years, then at Loxton.
"I really enjoyed agriculture and I wanted to be a teacher so I combined the two, and ended up here, all these years later," she said.
"I still love what I do.
"It's about the relationships you form with the children and seeing them grow.
We're lucky we can teach with a local focus, about what's going on in the local area or what suits this class of students.
"Often the subject is one that they don't have a lot of knowledge in, so you get to see them grow and have great careers in agriculture."
Ms Fogden said part of that comes from being able to show just how many opportunities are available in the field.
"There is still a thought process that to have a life in ag, you have to have a farm, but we show kids there are lots of options," she said.
Ms Fogden said her long experience with the SA Heifer Expo dated back to the beginning, competing in the first three events.
When her niece became involved, some time later, she began volunteering, and now coordinates the event.
"Like with teaching, you see the entrants come along year-after year and they get so much out of it and become young adults," she said.
We're really fortunate in SA that we have a really active group of ag teachers who are really supportive and help each other out.
Ms Fogden said the best part of her job was the variation, with a mix of practical application as well as the science and theory behind that.
"It's every changing - not one year is the same as another, there is technology changes or different things you can add to the curriculum," she said.
"We're lucky we can teach with a local focus, about what's going on in the local area or what suits this class of students."
She said there was a need for more agricultural teachers to help inspire the next generation.
"There is a huge shortage of ag teachers, Australia-wide," she said.
Ms Fogden said she was surprised to receive the award, as there were a number of stand-out teachers in the industry.
"We're really fortunate in SA that we have a really active group of ag teachers who are really supportive and help each other out and mentor other teachers," she said.
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