Ag instructor grows with the community

Published 9:18 am Monday, May 23, 2005

By by Tim Cottrell
If you water a plant long enough, it will eventually grow.
Perry Byars, Agriculture Instructor at Northview High School found that out recently when, after 20 years of service (eight at Northview), he was named Florida's Agriculture Instructor of the Year by the Florida Association of Agricultural Educators (FAAE).
Byars serves on the board of the FAAE, and was nominated by his peers for the award. After being nominated, a candidate must then fill out an application listing what is being done with their individual agriculture program. After sending his application in, Byars found out soon thereafter he was the award winner.
Byars, however, would downplay the honor.
"I'm not any better than anyone else," Byars said. "A lot of it is how you fill your application out, and I may have done a better job of that than someone else. I was able to write down a few things from taking some opportunities other schools don't have. We have a lot of support from the administration, and a lot of support from the community. We have good kids and good parents. The businesses in the area are always willing to help out. All this support makes my job a lot easier."
The criteria on the application for the Ag Instructor of the Year included teaching philosophy, instruction techniques, expertiented teaching (hands-on experience), organizations participating at the school, and cooperation with community organizations.
Joyce Gunn, Administrative Secretary at Northview, said Byars certainly deserved the award.
"Mr. Byars is very dedicated with the FFA program here at Northview," Gunn said. "He is sincere in his desire to see the kids excel; he's always very conscious about the community and likes to get the community involved in support of his program; and the program here at Northview has been helped greatly by him being in it."
Byars noted that his students had done more to help him in his time than anyone.
"I've got kids that work hard," he said. "I put time in it as well. Everything's different everywhere you go, but the main difference is I get support here. I can do what I want to do with these kids, and (Northview Principal Gayle) Weaver looks out for us. I can see that and the kids can see that. Seeing the administration sticking their necks out for us is a big help.
Gunn said the feeling was mutual.
"He's a great asset to Northview," she said. "He's also our faculty leader. He was voted on by his peers, so they see him as a leader too. Not only does he lead students, but also the faculty; and I think thats a big part of why he was elected (outstanding) ag instructor for the state."
To close things out, Byars said that since things weren't broken, he wouldn't be attempting to fix them anytime soon.
"We're probably not going to be doing anything any different," Byars said after being asked if he had any new plans. "This one seems to be working fine."

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