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HFM P-Tech teacher named outstanding teacher of the year

HFM Ag P-TECH teacher Julia Hudyncia works with students outside April 13. (Photo submitted)

ST. JOHNSVILLE — HFM Ag PTECH teacher Julia Hudyncia has been named the 2017 Outstanding Teacher by the New York Association of Agricultural Educators.

To be considered for the award, candidates are nominated by fellow agriculture teachers and must complete an application process. The statewide award puts Hudyncia in the running for the National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in the fall.

“A great teacher can motivate and inspire students and Julia Hudyncia is one of those teachers,” HFM BOCES District Superintendent Patrick Michel said in a news release. “This recognition is truly an honor for her and also for her coworkers and our entire Ag PTECH program.”

Hudyncia is a graduate of Fort Plain High School. She earned an associate degree from the State University at Cobleskill in agribusiness and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University. She also earned a master’s degree from Cornell in biology and agriculture education.

After graduating college, Hudyncia taught agriculture at Madison High School in Madison County for six years.

When she heard a consortium consisting of HFM BOCES, the Canajoharie school district, local businesses and area colleges were preparing to launch the new Ag PTECH program, she thought it would be the perfect professional opportunity and a chance to return home.

This is the first year of the HFM Ag PTECH program, where, in addition to teaching agriculture, Hudyncia is also the FFA adviser. Ag PTECH seeks to redefine secondary education with a project-based learning curriculum that focuses on skills in nine career clusters. Through the program, students can earn one of nine different associate degrees at no cost to their families and will be considered for jobs with participating companies when they graduate.

Ag PTECH Principal Kristy Shafer credits Hudyncia for her vision in embracing a new model for education

“Teaching here requires a mind shift – our teachers are genuinely the leaders of the school and the students the leaders of their classrooms,” Shafer said.

“Julia immediately embraced our model – developing project based learning experiences for Agriculture Science and also two college-level courses. She’s is an amazing educator and her dedication to her students shows every day.”

Having grown up on her family’s farm in Fort Plain, Hudyncia said she always thought of pursuing a career in agriculture. She entered college with the dairy nutrition field in mind but eventually discovered teaching as her calling.

“Agriculture has been engrained in my past, and I just love working with kids and watching them grow,” Hudyncia said.

Hudyncia will be recognized as the 2017 Outstanding Teacher at the NYAAE Conference at the Oswegatchie Education Center in Croghan on June 22.

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