Holly Hufford, agricultural educator at Smyrna Middle School, is one of six individuals nationwide who received the Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher Award, given at the National Association of Agricultural Educators annual convention Nov. 28 in San Antonio.
Hufford’s teaching philosophy is one that strives to implement integrity, compassion, respect, responsibility and perseverance. When it comes to classroom instruction, she works to provide various opportunities for her students. They participate in various lab activities and hands-on exploration. She believes that inquiry-based and experiential-based instruction will not only teach her students “how-to” but will also allow them to demonstrate their mastery of a curriculum related skill. Hufford uses multiple teaching strategies to ensure that all students, no matter what their learning style, have the opportunity to understand and apply the skills they have learned in her classroom.
As an agricultural educator, Hufford is striving to establish a curriculum that is thought-provoking, hands-on and encourages critical thinking. Her students have had an active role in animal grooming, training and assist in canine whelping. Her eighth-grade agriscience students also have the opportunity to experience various greenhouse production practices including inventory, plan, plant, transplant, asexually propagate, price and sell products within the greenhouse. These skills help to prepare her students for Future careers and allow them to think critically about and apply their knowledge gained while in her classroom.
Hufford believes it is beneficial to all programs for their educators to get out of their school environment and attended professional development events. She currently serves as the Delaware Association of Agricultural Educators president, and previously served as both the treasurer from 2008-2011 and the vice president from 2016 to 2017. She has also attended four NAAE Region VI Conferences and three NAAE annual conventions. After attending these events she stated that she comes back with new ideas and strategies to implement in her classroom.