2018-05-16 / Front Page

Up for award

Hyatt in running for top agriscience teaching award
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

Tammy Hyatt gives Keegan Hougthen a hand with one of his projects at Ed-Tech. 
Photo by Phil Foley Tammy Hyatt gives Keegan Hougthen a hand with one of his projects at Ed-Tech. Photo by Phil Foley ATTICA TWP. — When Montrose native Tammy Hyatt earned her bachelor’s of science degree in horticulture and a minor in crop science from Michigan State University in 1989, she thought she was going to become an extension service agent.

But a year working at Disney World convinced her she wanted to teach youth and but for a hiring freeze she might still be running interns in Orlando.

Instead Hyatt has spent the better part of three decades introducing Lapeer County’s youth to the world of agriscience. And now she’s in the running for the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher of the Year Award.

“Oh, golly,” said Lapeer County Intermediate School District Superintendent Steve Zott. “Tammy Hyatt is as good as they come. There’s not many that come along like her. Agricultural education isn’t just a profession for her, it’s a lifestyle.”

Zott said Hyatt was named Michigan’s Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher of the Year last week, and he believes she has a good chance at being named one of the semi-finalists to go to the NAAE the end of November in San Antonio.

When Hyatt began as a horticulture instructor in 1990 at the Lapeer County Education and Technology Center (Ed-Tech), she had a 30-by-60-foot greenhouse with a small flower shop and a classroom with 27 students, just over half of which were really interested in horticulture.

Since then the program has grown to 147 students from every part of the county raising 30 large animals, 125 broiler chickens and 20 rabbits annually in a 52-by-80- foot animal center. The program also added a second 30-by-100-foot greenhouse.

“My mission for teaching,” said Hyatt, “has always been to help students believe in themselves through building their self-esteem and attitude.”

Her plan seems to be working. This year alone, Ed-Tech’s FFA chapter is sending four teams to compete at the national level. Lapeer’s FFA chapter has been named in the state’s top 10 eight times. At the national level the chapter has been cited as a two star chapter twice and a three star chapter eight times.

Hyatt herself was named the Michigan Electric Cooperatives’ Agriscience Educator of the Year in 2011, Michigan Farm Bureau Agricultural Educator of the Year in 1999, American Vocational Association Region I Vocational Teacher of the year in 1997, MEA Teacher of the Year in 1997, NVATA Young Teacher of the Year in 1996, Michigan Outstanding Young Agriscience Teacher of the Year in 1995 and Lapeer County Outstanding Young Female Careerist in 1995.

Zott said Hyatt “lives and breathes agriscience and FFA.”

She noted at Friday’s annual FFA awards banquet that some of her students who won awards this year are the children of her first crop of students.

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