Gwen Boettcher, a DeForest Area High School agriculture education teacher, has been selected as the Outstanding Young Agricultural Educator in Wisconsin for 2011 by the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE).
The outstanding young member award recognizes new instructors in their first five years of teaching. The award is based on participation in WAAE and other professional associations, classroom instruction, FFA involvement, and community service.
Boettcher began her teaching career at DeForest in 2005 after graduating from UW-Madison with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education and a BS in Life Sciences Communication. She maintains a strong relationship with the UW for the benefit of her students, arranging tours and shadowing experiences, and getting them involved in research studies. This year Boettcher served on a state-wide steering committee to develop a veterinary technician youth apprenticeship program for students.
Since Boettcher’s arrival to DeForest, the DeForest FFA Chapter has grown from 70 to 150 members, who each year receive several honors and awards at state and national FFA conventions. Through Boettcher’s leadership, students also participate in many community and enterprising activities, such as Food for America, a 4th grade environmental project, the community Land Lab, plant and fruit sales, and Family Fun Night.
High school principal Machell Schwarz commended Boettcher on her award. “I can see when I walk into her classroom that she is a positive influence for students. They are truly engaged in their learning.”
Beottcher will be honored at the WAAE Summer Conference Awards Banquet. She will next be considered at the national level by the National Association of Agricultural Educators, with those honors being announced in June.
WAAE is an organization for middle school, high school, technical college and university educators. The focus of the association is to provide professional development, legislative support, and educational resources for teacher to enhance their local agriculture education programs.