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Galt High School agriculture teacher Dane White named top in state

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Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:28 am, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

Galt High School agriculture teacher Dane White will start the school year with a new title: Best Outstanding Young Teacher in California.

He was honored with the state title by the National Association of Agriculture Educators at a ceremony late last month. The award is given to teachers with five or fewer years experience in the profession.

Annually, the California Agriculture Teachers Association chooses a variety of award winners. The selection process includes an application and scoring by a panel of six members representing the six regions of California.

Each region nominates a candidate for the award.

“Dane was the consensus choice,” said Jim Aschwanden, executive director of CATA. “He is a phenomenal ag teacher and has done a terrific job. The panel recognized his characteristics. For his stage in his career, he is highly recognized in the ag field.”

White, who has only taught at Galt High School in his career, said he is honored his peers think so highly of him.

This award brings honor not only to him and Galt High, but to the community as well, he said.

The last time a teacher from this area received the Best Outstanding Young Teacher Award was in 1987, when Lodi High’s Tom Dormody was chosen.

White admits he was stunned when the announcement was made at the state convention.

“My head just kind of blew up,” he said. He credits his mentors and current co-workers with his success.

Although he did not grow up on a farm, he was involved in FFA in Eureka, where he attended high school and was both a state and national student leader.

White is starting his sixth year as a member of the Galt High School agriculture program, working alongside colleagues Cheryl Reece and Carl Wright. He teaches agriculture economics, agriculture government, agriculture leadership and agriculture biology.

He enjoys challenging students, especially to become leaders, he said.

He has coached four state champion ag speech teams and has had students earn both secondand first-place finishes in the nation. Additionally, his students have been elected to section, region and state FFA offices, including two state FFA presidents.

School starts today, but White has been preparing his classroom for weeks. He is looking forward to the school year and new projects. Among those is a student-led effort to raise and sell organic eggs.White is now eligible for the national Outstanding Young Agriculture Teacher of the Year award. The winner will be chosen later this year.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com. For more information about local education issues, read our Education Café blog.

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