Petty plans to end the ag teacher turnover


Mrs. Brooke Petty helps student, Carter Sutherland, with a welding project in the ag shop.

Breanna Standley, Photo-Editor

Growing up, new SES ag teacher Mrs. Brooke Petty, dreamed of becoming a vet.

In fact, her love of animals fueled her decision to go to K-State and major in Animal Science. But after a year, she decided that she didn’t really see herself in a career in animal science and sought advice from her college ag advisor. 

“I had a conversation with my ag teacher, and he said, ‘You could always be an ag teacher,’” Petty said.

She said that teaching ended up being the perfect fit for her. She enjoyed her student teaching experience and went on to work at two high schools in Southern Cloud County: Glasco and Miltonvale.

 From there she moved on to Central High School in Salina where she worked for four years. Petty enjoyed working in a large school but said that she’s excited to get back to a small school and a tighter community.

Regardless of school size, Petty finds teaching challenging.

“Teaching is hard, but it’s very rewarding. And I really enjoy it. If I didn’t teach, I don’t know what I would do,” Petty said. 

Petty not only became an ag teacher and FFA advisor at a new school this year, but she also took on being the district FFA advisor. Adjusting to a new school and new kids while also having to take on an extra set of responsibilities at the district level has been difficult for her, but she said that she’s learning a lot and enjoying the experience.

“I’ve never been on this side of it, and I think it’s an honor to be on this side,” she said.

Petty was chapter president at her school, but she said that she was far too much of an introvert to have sought a district or state-level position. Still, she finds being able to support her students’ dreams as they reach for higher offices to be a rewarding challenge. 

As State FFA officer elections approach in the spring, Petty will get the opportunity to support Abby Johnson as she runs for an office. As her students reach for higher levels, she sees her role as the person who supports them in any way. She says that she works to make them aware of any obstacles that might stand in their way and she helps them to work past those barriers. 

She also wants to make sure that they have room to grow as well. She wants her students to be able to take on responsibilities so that they feel proud of what they’ve accomplished through their own hard work.

“My take on FFA is that it’s a student led organization and that my role is just to let them know what needs to be done and remove any roadblocks in their way,” she said.

Petty also thinks that it’s important for people to know that FFA isn’t just for people who work on farms. She said that in high school she didn’t join FFA as a freshman because she wasn’t a farmer. This is a big reason why it’s so important for her to show her students what FFA is really about.

“One of my biggest passions is letting people know that you don’t have to be a farmer to be in FFA,” Petty  said. “It has nothing to do with whether or not you are in production agriculture. Only two percent of the population is actually involved in production ag when 20 percent is involved in careers relating to ag.”

Petty is aware that there has been a large turnover of ag teachers throughout the last few years at SES, and she says that she plans to break that streak. Her family has moved into the school district and they plan on staying. 

Her son Jensen is in kindergarten and her daughter Jane is three years old. She and her husband Jeremy, an SES graduate, plan on having their children attend SES all throughout elementary school and into high school as well. 

“I’m hoping to make this a home and that this will be my last move,” Petty said. “I’m in it for the long haul.”