LeRoy Educator Earns teacher of the Year Title

Katie Buckley, secondary special education teacher and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Educator across the district at LeRoy CUSD #2, has been named 2020 Illinois Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year for her outstanding efforts in incorporating agriculture into her classroom.

“I am so honored to be recognized for this award,” Buckley says. “My goal for my students is to give them an insight into agriculture that goes beyond farming. I try to find ways to incorporate agriculture into high interest topics such as drones, automated agriculture, and GPS. The job market for agriculture is going to continue to grow and students need to be aware of those careers.”

Buckley’s students have twice won the Purple Plow Challenge, a nationwide ag-related STEM competition. As a result, the classroom gained two 3D printers and $200 in giftcards.

Using a variety of grant funds, Buckley has also purchased drones, robotic components, tablets and more to enable students to explore the uses of technology in agriculture.

“I’m so excited to see Katie recognized as the Illinois Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year,” says Bridget Caldwell, McLean County Ag in the Classroom coordinator. “I’m amazed at her creativity plus all of the technology she uses and how she connects it to agriculture.”

Buckley is also an alum of the American Farm Bureau STEM on the Farm program, a professional development opportunity that offers educators the chance to learn firsthand about the science and technology of beef production.

Buckley will be recognized at the 2019 Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Chicago and will receive a trip to the 2020 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. She will also be the Illinois nominee for the USDA National Excellence in Teaching Agriculture Award. You can follow Buckley and her students on Twitter (@LeRoySTEM).