The best teachers never stop learning, and Robert Morris is living proof. The Clay County High School agriculture and forestry teacher was named West Virginia’s 2012 Teacher of the Year, but he’s continuing a West Virginia University education that began in the 1980s.
Morris earned a B.S. in agricultural education in 1988 and a Master of Science in Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences in 2001, both from the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. He’s currently pursuing the principal certification program, offered by the College of Human Resources and Education’s Educational Leadership Studies program through WVU Extended Learning.
Morris says he was “both elated and humbled to have been chosen” for the award by the West Virginia Department of Education. He will represent West Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
He says the hands-on nature of the subjects he teaches create unique educational opportunities.
“I get to know the students quite well through FFA and all of the activities we do outside of the classroom,” Morris said. “This gives me an opportunity to know how to better serve each student’s individual education needs in the classroom.”
FFA events like the annual Career Development Events, held for the 88th time on WVU’s Morgantown Campus in late September, give him the chance not only to give his students an out-of-class experience, but also to keep up with WVU’s Agricultural and Extension Education faculty, and to catch up with Clay County alumni.
“Bob does an outstanding job with his students,” said Harry Boone, professor and chair of agricultural and extension education at WVU. “The Clay County FFA chapter participates in many activities at the state and national levels. The students are always prepared and represent the local chapter well. The accomplishments of his students are a tribute to Bob’s teaching skills and his dedication to the profession.”
Morris credits his alma mater with preparing him to hit the ground running as an educator.
“The education I received at WVU prepared me for the real world in the classroom,” Morris said. “I learned to create innovative and interactive lessons and how to engage students in the educational process.
“My professors in agricultural education were excellent role models in how to deliver quality educational programs,” he added. “We were teaching lessons from almost day one in the program. This really helped me to see what it would truly be like in the classroom.”
As with many WVU alumni, some of his favorite Mountaineer memories include football games and “the great friendships cultivated with fellow students, many of which are still strong today.
“I enjoyed especially the clubs,” he added. “I was the Collegiate FFA and president of Alpha Tau Alpha, the agricultural education honorary.”
As West Virginia’s 2012 Teacher of the Year, Morris will receive an educational technology package valued at nearly $15,000. The National Teacher of the Year will be chosen by the Council of Chief State School Officers in the spring of 2012.
CONTACT: David Welsh; Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
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