Janesville Teacher Recognized for Agricultural Literacy Work

Carmen DeKok (center) was with Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award by Rock County Ag in the Classroom Committee members Sheila Everhart (left) and Stacy Skemp (right).

Carmen DeKok, a fourth-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School in Janesville, is this year’s recipient of Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program’s Outstanding Teacher Award. The Rock County teacher has worked closely with Rock County Ag in the Classroom and has taught several county and district essay contest winners.

Each year the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Program recognizes a teacher for their efforts in educating students on the importance of agriculture. Teachers of all grade levels and subject areas, with the exclusion of certified agricultural education instructors, are eligible to apply.

“Carmen has been working closely with Sheila Everhart, former Rock County Ag in the Classroom coordinator, gathering resources, connecting with field trip locations, and getting educational resources for her classroom. This past summer, she also served on a committee selecting our 2021-2022 Book of the Year and Essay Contest topic,” said Darlene Arneson, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom Coordinator.

DeKok integrates agriculture into her core curricula areas including reading, language arts, math, science and social studies. She has local farmers come to her classroom to share information about their farms, the technology they use and their day-to-day activities. She has fostered an interest in agriculture in her students, motivating some to take high school agriculture classes and consider careers in the industry.

DeKok earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Winona State University and her master’s degree from University of Wisconsin Whitewater. She taught fifth and sixth grade at Harrison Elementary School in Janesville for 21 years before moving to Roosevelt Elementary in 2008 where she has taught both third and fourth grades.

DeKok will be Wisconsin’s nominee for the National Excellence in Teaching Agriculture Award and will receive a $500 sponsorship to attend the 2022 National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY or to use for educational resources. Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom also would like to recognize applicants Dyan Lasar, Culinary Teacher at Greenfield High School and Mary Pat Erdmann,fourth grade teacher in Wisconsin Rapids. Both teachers do an outstanding job of incorporating agriculture into their classes and activities.