By combining ideas and insights from across industries, Isaiah Govea works with his Arizona FFA chapter to create a culture that is unique to his students and community.
Arizona agriculture is one of the most unique and beautiful industries in the country. From the lettuce fields in Yuma to equine care operations throughout eastern Arizona, it is as diverse as the agricultural education programs found throughout the state.
One of those distinctive programs is the AAEC South Mountain FFA Chapter in Phoenix. Isaiah Govea is a second-year agriculture teacher and FFA advisor who thrives in the urban environment.
“Like so many of us who go on to be ag teachers, I took agriculture classes in high school and was an active FFA member,” Govea says. “Despite having grown up in a very urban area of Phoenix, I fell in love with agriculture and the FFA while in high school. I was in the ag department every chance I got. I was a teacher’s assistant for my ag teacher during my junior and senior years. That was the first time I thought I might want to become an agriculture teacher. That decision was further cemented while serving as a state FFA officer immediately after high school.”
Govea attributes much of his success to a varied background. During high school and college, he purposely became involved in many different organization and leadership areas. While he is a big advocate of the traditions and cultures of FFA, he is not afraid to borrow ideas from other places if they fit the program and improve things for his students.
“I have some great teaching partners who also bring ideas from other places and, together with our students, we are working to create a culture that is 100 percent unique to our program and chapter,” Govea says. “We don’t always get everything done perfectly, but our chapter and our students are constantly thinking outside the box and working to ensure that we don’t get complacent. We are always looking to grow ourselves, our members and our program.”
In fact, the AAEC South Mountain FFA Chapter was recently recognized for the second year in a row as one of the top FFA chapters in Arizona as a Gold Rated Chapter in the National Chapter Award Program. The agricultural education program was also nominated for Outstanding Multi-Teaching Program from the Arizona Agriculture Teachers Association.
“Agriculture teachers have a unique job. We get to spend four years with our students, travel across the state and nation, and have countless impactful moments during their time as our students,” Govea says. “I love that I get to make an impact on students. I love that I get to introduce students to the work of agriculture, inspire them to be better leaders and better people, and watch them transform before my eyes. At the end of the day, I’m passionate about being an ag educator because I’m passionate about the students I teach.”
To learn more about agricultural education careers, visit AgExplorer.com.