From the first day she walked into an agriculture classroom as a student, Krista Pontius knew teaching was her life’s calling.
Fast forward 24 years and hundreds of students she has inspired in and out of the classroom, and Krista’s passion for agricultural education is still going strong — and gaining her national clout as the grand prize winner in the Live Kelly and Ryan Top Teachers Search on ABC. The honor comes as the nation paid tribute to educators for Teacher Appreciation Week.
Pontius is the agriculture education teacher and FFA advisor at Greenwood High School in Millerstown, Penn. In April, she was nominated for the nationwide contest and made it through rounds of judging and public voting to become one of four finalists. Each finalist was interviewed on the show this week, including Pontius, who was backed by her freshman ag science class.
As the grand prize winner, Pontius will receive $10,000 and a $10,000 DonorsChoose.org gift card provided by contest sponsor Sonic to allocate toward funding projects and teaching supplies.
Pontius is excited yet humbled about the nomination, “Through my membership in the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE), I have the opportunity to work alongside world-class agricultural educators on a regular basis, and I know that there are so many more worthy individuals across this nation. I truly consider myself blessed to be a part of the agricultural education family, and I enjoy learning from my colleagues and friends,” she said.
The students have been her biggest joy since she started teaching in 1997. “I enjoy seeing the growth of my students … I do hope that each and every student leaves as a more well-rounded individual who is prepared to face the world,” she said. While the past year and the COVID-19 pandemic have been challenging, she has never felt more needed