ENTERPRISE - In her fifth year of teaching vocational agriculture at Enterprise High School, Stephanie Schofield has been named Oregon's Young Ag Teacher of the Year.

In the spring of 2003 she will compete with state winners from California, Washington, Idaho and Utah for regional honors and a possible shot at a national award.

Schofield applied for the honor by submitting a detailed 15-page application form that included how she has improved the vo-ag program in her school, her teaching philosophy, how she has improved her lesson plans and how she and her students have become involved with community service.

The honor is made available only to teachers of agriculture with fewer than five years of teaching experience. She received a plaque to commemorate her state award.

Schofield submitted her application and was interviewed by more experienced agriculture teachers during the Oregon Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association's summer meeting. She estimated that 15 young teachers vied for the honor.

Schofield, who had 62 FFA students under her wing last year and is teaching 107 students this year, tries to present a mix of classroom teaching, the FFA experience and projects that can be conducted outside of the school.

"I try to present a well-rounded experience that goes on beyond the school," Schofield said. She works to tie what is taught in the classroom with lessons in the community.

Schofield teaches Ag 1, animal science, agriculture mechanics, natural resources and two classes of shop. Ag issues will be taught next year in place of natural resources, she said.

Not hurting Schofield's resume for the award is the fact that two of her students, Tim Gilbert and Eric Stangel, have recently been honored nationally for their FFA endeavors.

Part of Schofield's teaching technique is to have advanced students tutor and mentor younger students.

"If I have 20 kids in class, I want them all to be involved in active learning," she said.

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