To many, assuming the role of National FFA Advisor would be the pinnacle of an agriculture educator’s career. For James Woodard, this new role is the ultimate chance to give back to those who helped him throughout his blue-and-gold journey.
Q: How did you get your start in agricultural education?
A: I began my agricultural education career in the seventh grade with Mr. Jerry Landmon in Georgia. Having grown up in poverty, my parents knew that education and work ethic were the keys to success in life. During my sophomore year, my agriculture teacher, Mr. Mike Tanner, helped me bring those skills to life. Because of his relentlessness to see me succeed, I later defined my mission in life to make a difference in the lives of students the same way he did in mine.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most in your new role?
A: I’m sure every National FFA Advisor has a goal of visiting every state’s convention or FFA camp. Agriculture and its students are as diverse as our national geography, and I look forward to understanding just how varied we are.
Also, my daughter is a first-year agriculture teacher. I am especially excited that one of my first speaking engagements is during her chapter banquet. It is a full-circle moment for us all.
Q: When you aren’t working in the classroom, what do you enjoy?
A: For the past 17 years, I filled my spare time with my family in the show ring. My son and daughter are both grown now, but we have a long tradition in our home of showing cattle and sheep. In fact, our Christmas card every year is a reflection of the lessons we learned in the barn.