Teachers Turn the Key 

Agricultural education is continually faced with a shortage of qualified teachers. Unless those who have been trained enter and remain in the profession for a period of several years, the shortage of qualified teachers will prevail. As a means of encouraging young teachers to remain in the profession and to encourage and recognize participation in professional activities, NAAE offers the Teachers Turn the Key Scholarship. NAAE members who are currently in their second, third, or fourth year of teaching are eligible to apply for this award.  


2017 State Winner - Brittany Avent


Brittany Avent is in her third year teaching the Horticulture pathway at Ripley High School after teaching Mathematics in her hometown of Bolivar. Since coming to Ripley, she has made the school’s greenhouse operational again and added a hydroponic system that feeds lettuce and tomatoes to students in the school’s cafeteria. She has received multiple grants that allow the program to keep expanding the hydroponics system and a “Be More” grant encouraging healthy lifestyles from UT Extension that allowed the purchase of a garden tiller to install a community garden on campus. In addition to these grants, Ms. Avent is also certified in CASE, Curriculum for Agricultural Education and is in the process of installing an Agriscience laboratory to allow students in strengthen reading comprehension, self regulation, and writing. Not only does she fulfill her duties as a FFA Advisor, Ms. Avent also serves on the Instructional Leadership Team, ACT Awareness Team, Setting Students Up for Success, and recently voted the district’s Teacher of the Year for Lauderdale County Schools.