Justin Brill took a longer path to becoming a teacher. Initially he received a degree from Oregon State University in Agriculture and spent several years in business before deciding to return to OSU to get a teaching degree. Today he is a first and second grade teacher at Bethany Charter School in Silverton, where he actively incorporates his love of agriculture into his lessons.
Brill is the second recipient of the AITC Teacher of the Year Award. He accepted it at the 2013 Fall Harvest Dinner. This competitive award recognizes outstanding educators for their creative efforts to teach students about the importance of agriculture. Teacher's use of agricultural information and student impact are priorities for receiving this award.
For Brill, agriculture is always involved in his lessons. For example, this fall he has already incorporated a bee unit into his class and explored the scientific process while making apple faces. Brill says he uses agriculture to teach math, science, literacy and art.
Brill initially began teaching as a seventh and eighth grade teacher at Bethany Charter School which cover grades K-8. During this time he also taught an hour-long class about agriculture to students in grades 1-4 at the school. In his weekly classes, he taught students about Oregon's top commodities, apples, beef, dairy, sheep, chickens and eggs. He has also had students participate in AITC's Calendar Contest and last spring one of them received an honorable mention for their art.
Now as a first and second grade teacher, he regularly uses AITC materials in all his subjects. Said Brill about using AITC materials, "What I like best is having a resource that is so well organized. AITC has books and units I can just ‘plug into' my lesson plans. It's very easy to get onto the website and scroll through the resources and find something that fits."
Justin says that looking forward he will continue to share his passion for agriculture with his students. Just as he has taught them – agriculture is in everything we do – and it will continue to be in our classroom every day!