After growing up on a cattle farm and pursuing a future in animal science, Keonté Edmonds finds his true passion and career success in agricultural education.
When it comes to managing a classroom full of students, Keonté Edmonds has a lifetime of practice. Growing up the eldest of seven brothers and sisters, Edmonds learned early on how to manage competing priorities, conflicting opinions and short attention spans.
Edmonds is now a seventh-year teacher at Heritage High School in Wake Forest, N.C. While he now demonstrates the cool, calm and collectedness of a seasoned veteran, teaching was not always his plan.
Edmonds grew up in a single-parent home on a small beef cattle farm in Brunswick County, Va. With a background of fixing fences and managing pastures with this grandpa, Edmonds originally attended Virginia State University and pursued a degree in animal science. And while he still works in the field today with Banfield Pet Hospital, Edmonds found himself pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural education shortly after graduation. As a student at North Carolina A&T State University, Edmonds continued his involvement with several organizations, including the Betterment of Brothers and Sisters, MANRRS, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and the 100 Black Men of America, which are organizations he is still involved in today.
“I am most passionate about mentoring students and helping them outside the classroom to aid them in becoming college or career ready,” Edmonds says. “We go on several field trips throughout the year, and I am a firm believer in hands-on learning.”
Through hands-on learning, Edmonds strives to make the classroom content more relevant to all students no matter what careers they may pursue.
“One quality I bring to the program I teach in is being futuristic,” Edmonds says. “I think about the end goal for students rather than immediate success. Through my expertise and desire to learn new things, students have taken on more leadership roles in our chapter and within the community.”
Edmonds’ instinct to learn new things makes up part of his passion for the profession. He also encourages FFA members who are considering going into teaching to do their research to ensure it is the right path for them.
“When you are passionate about something, you will never have to work again,” Edmonds says.
Edmonds’ passion has led to success both in and out of the classroom. He was named Rookie Teacher of the Year for two consecutive years, received the NHL Carolina Hurricanes Hero of the Game Award, was named an NAAE National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador, serves on the NAAE/National FFA Inclusion/Diversity/Equity Taskforce, and serves as a National Teacher Ambassador for FFA.
To learn more about agricultural education careers, visit AgExplorer.com.