• Animal Health Academy Facilitator receives KFAC's Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year Award

    KFAC Announces 2022 Teacher of the Year Winners

    December 9, 2021

    Manhattan, Kansas, December 9, 2021 – Nicole Ioerger, a 9-12 grade science teacher at Olathe North High School, was recently named the 2021 Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year by Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC).

    KFAC's Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year award recognizes teachers who instill a passion for learning about agriculture within their students. KFAC honors one teacher annually who has successfully integrated agricultural education into their pre-existing curriculum.

    Ioerger is in her 10th year of teaching, where she devotes classroom time to learning through lab activities and case studies. Over the years, Ioerger has found that students respond best to agricultural concepts through hands-on activities and project-based learning. Making cheese during the animal products unit in animal science and setting up sustainable terrariums in the honors biology class are some of the class favorites.

    Today's students have very little understanding of how their food is grown. Ioerger incorporates a lesson where students must create a cartoon strip that illustrates every step of how an animal product got from the farm to their plate.

    "It has been extremely rewarding to watch students gain an understanding and appreciation for agriculture through the classes," Ioerger said. "We have even had a few graduates decide to pursue careers in agriculture after taking the class."

    Ioerger's lessons incorporate agricultural concepts that address multiple Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Students can gain life skills working with animals within the selective Animal Health Academy at Olathe North High School. The students' families and the community are very involved in the program and help coordinate student volunteer opportunities and field trips to gain hands-on experience with animals.

    Ioerger will be recognized during the 2022 KFAC Annual Meeting in Manhattan in January and will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 2022 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York. Ioerger will also represent Kansas as the entry for the 2022 National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award, presented by National Agriculture in the Classroom.