The baton has been passed to the new Polk FFA District Advisor, William Paul Webb, who will start his new position on July 1 to replace the retiring David Byrd, the FFA District Advisor since 2001. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]
“Paul has been genuinely involved in agriculture education in Polk County for almost 30 years and has coordinated contests, planned trips, and is enthusiastic about education. I think he is a great replacement because he is a real down-to-earth person with a big heart and a good attitude,” David shares.
Paul, who previously taught at Frostproof High School for 21 years, is looking forward to helping out ag teachers and students in his new position, which includes providing classroom supplies/equipment, balancing the district budget, and planning ag-related activities. “I really want to be able to communicate with all the teachers that I’m responsible for and make sure we all work together to continue Polk County’s tradition for being a source of agriculture in the classrooms,” he explains. “Some of the duties will be a real learning curve for me, but it helps having been a teacher so I know and understand what they are going through.”
Another helpful resource is having David just a phone call away for advice, contacts and encouragement. David was actually the one to mention to Paul about the position, having worked with him on previous projects and during last year’s State FFA Convention.
Both men have worked side-by-side since May preparing for Paul’s transition into the job and both admit that it has felt like a whirlwind. Yet David and Paul know their hard work will help those in the classrooms achieve more for the agriculture field. “Agriculture is such a strong component for our local economy in Polk County, and our students need to learn about farming careers in addition to other professions in agriculture. Our hope is that they learn to appreciate agriculture and know all the benefits it has for everyone as well as the opportunities that are out there for them,” Paul adds.
For David, who will be celebrating his retirement with travel and household improvements, it will be seeing the newest generation of students embrace the endless opportunities that come from an education in an American tradition. He will also be teaching a few classes part-time at Warner University in the fall to help start the new agricultural studies program at the college. “Education is very important to me and agriculture is really the backbone of our American government and American way of life,” he continues. “I’ve enjoyed my job over the years and overall it has been very enjoyable teaching and working in the district office.”
Of his predecessor, Paul notes, “David has been a wonderful friend and colleague over the years and has done a terrific job in maintaining and improving agriculture education, especially with the career academies he has implemented.” He adds, “I hope that I’ve learned some from his leadership so that I can carry forward the great things he has started.”
story by BLAIR TOWNLEY [/emember_protected]