PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- A Pittsfield High School teacher is taking the advice she always shares with students -- and taking on a role with a state committee focused on agriculture education.
"I always tell my students if you want to make a difference, make a change. Take advantage of opportunities when they come along," Jody Heavner said. "The best way to effect change is to be a part of it."
Gov. J.B. Pritzker appointed Heavner, the ag teacher and FFA adviser at Pittsfield High School, to the Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education.
The committee advises the Illinois State Board of Education on agricultural education. Its 13 members include two secondary ag teachers, an ag literacy representative, one community college ag teacher, one university ag teacher and one FFA representative, according to the ISBE website.
Committee members "have the best interest of ag at heart," Heavner said.
She has taught at PHS for 11 years and has seen renewed success of the FFA chapter with state proficiency award winners and state-winning tams as well as being named winner of the National FFA Chapter Award for Building Communities. She previously taught at Union High School in Biggsville and as an adjunct professor at John Wood Community College and has held positions in the agribusiness and agriculture research fields.
The committee meets quarterly, often in Springfield or Bloomington.
"I think I can take four days out of my schedule a year to make sure folks understand the importance of ag education and continue to improve the curriculum available to teachers," Heavner said.
"It's really important that teachers who are in the classroom right now have input into the direction of education," she said. "I'm just really honored to be asked to be a part of it."