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Natalie Ryan
  • What do you love most about being an ag teacher?  I always tell my students that being an ag teacher is never boring!  I love that I feel like I am at work for only a few hours because the day passes by so quickly.  Busy days always seem to pay off, making ag teaching a very rewarding career.

  • What is your biggest challenge as an ag teacher?  There never seems to be enough hours in the day to finish the to constant “to do list”.  That feeling can be overwhelming especially when balancing classroom teaching with FFA activities and SAE projects.  

  • What have you learned thus far in your teaching career that you wish you would have known when you first began teaching?  When I first started teaching my mentors reminded me that it is not possible to do everything but successful programs build by succeeding in a few things and doing them really well.  Also, great classroom teaching has to be a priority.  Success in your FFA program depends on it!

  • What advice would you give a novice teacher entering this profession now? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to prove yourself.  This profession has experts in a range of areas that are more than willing to share their resources.  Ag teaching is so different than regular classrooms and I have grown to count on my network of peers.  Just remember, soon it will be your turn to mentor the next generation.   

  • What personal qualities or abilities do you think are important to being successful in this profession?  Adaptability, passion, work ethic and having a support system.

  • What specific skills are important to being successful in this profession?  Success in our profession starts in the classroom. I have found that the most valuable commodity I can provide to my students is sometimes just time.  Time to understand what is happening outside of class, time for a pep talk to the officer team, five extra minutes with a prepared speaker.  Sometimes it takes a reminder that I can add the most value to my program by walking away from the computer, taking a break from paperwork and giving a student my undivided attention even for a few minutes.

  • What most prepared you for being an agriculture educator?  My own ag teachers and experiences with facilitating conferences were very helpful when first starting in the classroom.  Like so many alumni members, I hold my own ag teachers in high esteem.  Mr. Mendes and Mr. Mayfield built a program that I am still proud to call my home chapter.  I realize now the reasons behind their actions and the vision they had for leadership development.

  • Describe ag teaching in one to two words. Fullfiling.

Natalie Ryan


  • School: North High School, Bakersfield, CA

  • Region:  San Joaquin Region

  • Education and/or industry experience:

    • CSU, Fresno, BS Agriculture Education.

    • CSU, Chico, MS Agriculture Education.

    • Worked for Kraft Foods.  

  • Years teaching ag: 5

  • Subjects you teach: Ag Biology, Veterinary Science, Ag Communications, Ag Government/Economics

  • Hobbies and interests outside of teaching: Fresno State football, skiing, spending time with family and friends.


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