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  September 2018: Thank You, Ron Whitson  
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By: Barney McClure, VATAT Executive Director

My column this month could be a recap of conference at Lubbock, or a look toward the coming school year. Instead, I want to use this space to thank a very important cog in the wheel of agricultural education in Texas. After a very successful career as an agriculture teacher, primarily at Mansfield, Ron Whitson accepted the job as statewide coordinator of the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources cluster at the Texas Education Agency in 2007. After eleven years on the job, Ron announced his retirement at our conference, effective August 30, 2018.

While our careers overlapped a great deal, and we taught about 20 miles apart, we were in different areas, so we didn’t have a great deal of interaction during this time. Once Ron went to work for TEA, I had the chance to work with him more. Our first big project occurred during 2008 and 2009. My State Board of Education member appointed me to the TEKS revision team for our division. My fellow committee members and I worked with Ron, and when the dust cleared, we had agriculture classes that counted for math credit, fine arts credit, science credit, and we had a CTE course that counted for speech credit. Ron was instrumental in this process. This achievement has had a lot to do with our growth during the last ten years.

In part, Ron’s job entailed serving as a curriculum resource for agricultural education, and several other clusters within CTE. He became a valuable asset for teachers and administrators who had questions concerning our state programs. Another TEKS revision came and went, as well as a teaching materials adoption. As the years passed, he navigated several regime changes within the agency and continued to represent our program area with class and dignity.

As mentioned previously, Ron Whitson will be retired by the time you read this, but his influence on our program will be felt for many years to come. I want to thank him for his service and wish him a happy and rewarding retirement. Job well done, my friend.

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