Marlena “K” Preston of Montgomery County has been named Virginia’s Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year.
The award recognizes a Virginia educator for efforts in incorporating agriculture into his or her core curriculum.
“K is committed to engaging her students in real-world, hands-on learning and connecting her students with academics and agriculture,” said Tammy Maxey, AITC senior education program coordinator. “She strives to instill in her students a love and respect for agriculture and the environment.”
Preston teaches kindergarten at Belview Elementary School in Radford. She uses agricultural concepts daily in her classroom as real-life examples to demonstrate required core curriculum. Her students have visited local dairies, farm markets and Virginia Tech’s horticultural garden, and she helped establish a school garden that is used as a teaching tool. Students help care for Belview’s Giving Garden, and during the summer it is used as a community garden.
A teacher for 30 years, Preston became involved in AITC in 2012 after attending a Virginia AITC training session at the Virginia Association of Science Teachers Conference.
As Virginia AITC’s Teacher of the Year she will receive a scholarship to attend the 2015 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in June in Louisville, Ky., and a stipend for her classroom.