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Friday, June 19, 2015

KyCorn Sponsored KMAT Program Reaches Class Halfway Mark

KMAT Class member from Webster County,
Jarrod Hankins, holds son, Reese,
while with students Stephanie Winstead
and Gabbi Major during the 2015 State KyFFA Convention.
Halfway through the first Kentucky Master Ag Teacher (KMAT) class, the program is already filling a much needed leadership and education void for established ag teachers, according to KyFFA Executive Director, Sheldon McKinney.

KMAT is a two year leadership course for agriculture education instructors in their fifth to tenth year of teaching. The program, which is the brain child of McKinney and KyFFA Advisor, Brandon Davis, was created to take mid-career ag teachers and give them the tools to become better leaders in their school and community as well as mentors for first year ag teachers.

McKinney explained that while the state of Kentucky offers several excellent leadership programs, none worked well with an ag teacher’s schedule.

“It’s really a connection that we saw was missing and we wanted to solve it,” McKinney said. “I approached KyCorn two years ago with the idea and they were all in. We hold four to five meetings a year and KyCorn is the sole sponsor.”

The curriculum includes personality testing, ropes course, scheduling and time management, leadership opportunities and new classroom curriculum trials.

One of the 15 in the first KMAT class, Jarrod Hankins, an ag teacher at Webster County High School, said he enjoys the networking aspect of the program.

“This program helps make our job more efficient. The more we can interact with others in our industry, the more we can enrich our communities.”

“Not only are we getting to interact with leadership across the state and becoming better advocates for the industry, we get the chance to sharpen our swords by bouncing ideas off of each other,” he said.

“Thinking outside the box, stepping outside our comfort zones and bettering ourselves in our careers ultimately benefits the kids to be better, which is the point of our job.”

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