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Sheldon McKinney, right, executive director of the KY FFA Foundation, presented the KY Agriculture Teacher of the Year award to Bradley McKinney, agriculture teacher at RCSHS.

Rowan County Senior High School’s Bradley McKinney was named the Kentucky Agriculture Teacher of the Year during a special ceremony at the state FFA Convention in Lexington.

Kentucky Agriculture Teacher of the Year is a joint program of the Kentucky Association of Agricultural Educators and the Kentucky FFA Foundation. The award is sponsored by an endowed gift from Ken and Brenda Reed of Versailles.

“It’s a high honor to be an outstanding agriculture teacher in the state of Kentucky,” said McKinney.

McKinney, now in his thirteenth year teaching agriculture to students in Kentucky, will now represent the commonwealth in the Outstanding Member Contest of the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

McKinney teaches a variety of classes including small engines, construction, animal science and employment classes.

Under his leadership, 35 students have reached transition status, meaning they were industry certified in agriculture.

“I realized the best way I could make a difference is by teaching young students to appreciate agriculture and show them the opportunities and skills that can be learned in the FFA,” he said. “I want to spread the word that agricultural education is for any student who has an interest in agriculture, science, business, leadership and more.”

During his time at RCSHS, McKinney has worked to help his students develop leadership and teamwork skills through FFA and to help them learn how to find agriculture-related jobs after high school.

Outside of school, McKinney been a leader the Kentucky Association of Agricultural Educators, served as a Regional Teacher Chair and is currently serving as State President Elect.  He has served as a teacher mentor for new agricultural education teachers and has supervised several student teachers.  

“Agriculture is the most important subject we could ever learn,” McKinney said.

He said without people who are educated in agriculture, the world would lose the things they need to live including food, clothes and shelter.

“Bradley McKinney has been a leader inside his classroom and across the state of Kentucky.  He has been a great resource for both pre-service and beginning teachers.  We appreciate his leadership and congratulate him on this achievement,” said State FFA Advisor Brandon K. Davis.

As the Kentucky Agriculture Teacher of the Year, McKinney will compete against agriculture teachers in a six-state region for the opportunity to be named one of six National Outstanding Agriculture Teachers of the Year. The selection will be announced in August.

Daneyl Tackett can be reached at dtackett@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.