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NYAITC's Teacher of the Year

2018 Teacher of the Year Applications Now Available

Nominate yourself or an amazing educator who integrates agriculture regularly in their curriculum. This top honor is awarded each year to a teacher, or a team of teachers, who are committed to ensuring that their students are agriculturally accurate. All nominations are due Wednesday, November 15, 2017.
Go to the application form »

2017 Teacher of the Year – Maria Plitt

New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) is pleased to announce the selection of Maria Plitt as the 2017 Teacher of the Year. Maria will be representing NYAITC as a model educator who incorporates agriculture as a context for learning in her 3rd through 6th grade STEM classes at Eastport Elementary in Eastport, NY located on Long Island. Maria’s students are continuously exposed to agriculture through the extensive use of their school garden as a learning laboratory, which creates a dynamic learning atmosphere. Students are immersed in connections with the outside world, as they even complete their work on a converted tree trunk used as a table, and sit on smaller, painted tree stumps for seats.
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Each year, NYAITC recognizes an outstanding New York elementary or secondary school teacher (or team of teachers) who uses agricultural education materials and/or activities in the classroom to such an extent as to merit our special award. For their excellence in teaching about and utilizing agriculture in their classroom, the winning teacher will have the opportunity to:

  • Submit an application for the National Agriculture In The Classroom Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture award sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Submit an application for the American Farm Bureau White-Reinhardt Award.
  • Attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, June 20-24, 2016, with all expenses paid.
  • Receive a free Food, Land and People training for themselves and their colleagues.
  • At-school recognition of the teacher and their accomplishments.
  • Certified teachers currently engaged in classroom instruction in the Pre-K through 12 levels.
  • Teachers must be integrating agricultural concepts into traditionally non-agricultural curricula,
  • Providing opportunities for students to engage in and study about agriculture,
  • And/Or utilizing innovative approaches to advancing agricultural literacy in the classroom.
  • The teacher does not necessarily need to be currently using NYAITC curriculum or programs.
  • Applicants may be self nominated, or an application could come from an individual or a team of teachers working together.
Review Process

Applications will be evaluated by a review committee who will score based on a rubric of 100 possible points. Scores will be averaged for each application.


25 points - Creativity and Utilization of Agricultural Information

  • The degree to which sound agricultural concepts have been infused into the classroom curriculum.
  • References should be made to the creative methods utilized in advancing student learning.

25 points - Interdisciplinary Approach

  • The degree to which agricultural concepts have been included in a variety of subjects or topics.
  • Value will be placed on the approach which teaches agriculture across the curriculum or subject.

25 points - Student Impact

  • Evidence of positive change in behavior, student attitudes and overall learning.

25 Points - Overall Impact, Longevity of the Program

  • Evidence of historical and new agricultural concepts introduced. This may include food systems.
  • Sustainable living, local agriculture, carbon footprint, community impact, nutrition, and more.

Past Winners