Editor's note: This is the first in a series about retiring ag teachers and future of ag education
Pat Redden came to Lincoln High School in Cambridge City in 1986. Twenty-eight years later he's retiring, leaving a legacy of program rehabilitation and of teaching kids the importance of giving back to their community. He doesn't just talk the talk, he also walked the walk.
"I never intended to teach," says Redden, originally form Warsaw, Ky. "I wanted to go to Western Kentucky to learn about farming and come back and farm, but my mom made me get a degree. So I got it in ag education."
Related: My First Year as a Vo-Ag Teacher
When he took the job at Lincoln High School he had nine FFA members. Today he has 100 ag students with about half of them in FFA.
"Our community expects our chapter to be of service more than just winning contests," he says. "It's been a good fit."
He has even taken on a project to landscape around the new library in town using his ag classes. Now completed, it turned out to be a $30,000 project just in materials alone!
Redden has served as chairman of the 4-H association in Wayne County, and also served on the Indiana FFA Foundation. In that role, he basically was director of the FFA Center for about two years before a replacement was hired. The job today is held by Joe Park, Trafalgar, another retired ag teacher.
"That took a lot of work, and I took the students over often to help do landscaping and things," he says. "The two-hour drive just got to be too much after a while."
Pat and his wife, Kate, will move back to Kentucky where they have farm ground. They won't live on the family farm, but will no doubt be involved.
The superintendent says the program will continue. In fact a replacement has already been hired and Redden expects a smooth transition.