ArFB Senior Education Coordinator Matt Jackson (l) presents Valarie Lawson (r) with her award plaque.
Valerie Lawson, a family and consumer science teacher at Clinton High School in Van Buren County, is Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 2020 Ag in the Classroom Outstanding Teacher.
Farm Bureau established the award in 2006 to recognize teachers who have exemplary programs that integrate agricultural concepts into their teaching. Lawson teaches a number of high school classes, including food safety and nutrition, consumer services, customer relations and child development. She incorporates agriculture and farming concepts into her food safety and nutrition course, using FDA and USDA guidelines, Arkansas Ag in the Classroom materials, field trips and participation in the country fair.
In addition, Lawson applied for and won an Arkansas Beef Council grant to highlight cooking with beef and beef nutrition facts through a cooking contest, and she and her students help out in the school cafeteria to learn about food handling procedures and locally grown produce.
“Arkansas – the Natural State – is known for its diverse agricultural background,” said Lawson, in her award application. “I am committed to teaching tomorrow’s leaders the importance of agriculture in my family and consumer science classes.”
Lawson, who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Central Arkansas, and her students also volunteer to help with local and state organizations raising money to fight hunger.
“In all my years in education, she is at the top of the list of the best teachers I have supervised” wrote Tim Smith, Clinton High School principal, in his official recommendation letter for Lawson. “On a daily basis, she incorporates agriculture and the importance of agriculture in her classes, especially in her food safety and nutrition classes.”
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of almost 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.
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