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Local teacher, mentor honored by state

Teacher awards are nothing new to New Richmond High School, but that doesn't make them any less important. Now, the school can add a few more to its resume.

Rachel Sauvola, agriscience teacher at the high school and FFA advisor, was recently honored for reaching her 10-year tenure, awarded a teacher of teachers award and an outstanding agricultural educator award, and dubbed a Wisconsin Association of Agriculture Educators teacher mentor award.

The teacher mentor award recognizes experienced agricultural educators who make the time to work with early career educators in an effort to help them become successful teachers.

Along with mentoring teachers, Sauvola mentors pre-service agricultural educators at UW-River Falls, allows student observers to come into her classroom each year to see education on the frontlines, taught a night class at UW-River Falls while a professor was on sabbatical and team-taught a university class for beginning agriscience teachers.

Using online discussions and face-to-face lesson sharing, she continues to serve as a role model for young teachers who are just getting started in their agricultural education journey.

"I don't think it's a secret to anyone that I am passionate about agricultural education and the FFA," Sauvola said. "I want new teachers to have excellent experiences so that we can retain them in their respective schools. I don't want to see Wisconsin (or any other state) losing programs because they can't get teachers to fill the positions. The world needs agricultural education and if I can do my part to help that new teacher or pre-service teacher in any way I can, I am committed to making it happen. I know what it was like those first few years - it was tough! An agricultural educator is different than any other teacher in the school. We have more preps and more night/weekend work with the FFA. If I can help lighten the load with a classroom lesson, a tidbit of advice or a listening ear, I will do it!"

As the state winner, Sauvola will compete against Teacher Mentor Award winners from surrounding states for the opportunity to be named the 2009 National Association of Agriculture Educators Teacher Mentor for Region III. Regional winners will receive an expense paid trip to attend the 2009 NAAE convention in Nashville, Tenn. The NAAE Teacher Mentor Award program is sponsored by CEV Multimedia.

NAAE is the professional association for agricultural educators. The mission of NAAE is "professionals providing agricultural education for the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy and service." The group's office is located in Lexington, Ky.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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