Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
By Nancy Allen
Riethman receives national ag teaching award
  COLDWATER -┬áTri Star horticulture instructor and FFA adviser Denny Riethman at Coldwater schools was named one of six top agriculture educators in the nation last week by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.
Riethman received the Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher award for region 4, which includes Ohio. He received a plaque and a free two-year lease on a Toyota Tundra truck. Toyota sponsored the award.
Riethman qualified for the national contest after winning the state award this summer.
"It was very exciting," Riethman said. "It was like, wow, I never realized that my application would go as far as it did."
He and his wife, Rita, were present at the awards ceremony Nov. 27 in Atlanta, Ga., when he was announced a national winner. He expects to get his truck, arranged through a local dealer, some time in early 2013.
Other national winners included ag educators from Idaho, Colorado, Wisconsin, Georgia and New York.
"It's very rewarding to me to know that ag education at Coldwater and at Tri Star measures up to the expectations at the national level," he said. "The work is not totally about me either, but the total ag program and what I have been able to help put together."
The association of ag educators says the award recognizes those who are at the pinnacle of their profession who are conducting the highest quality agricultural education programs.
Riethman has taught agriculture for 33 years at Coldwater and has seen many changes occur within the program. When he first took the job, it was a one-teacher program focused on production agriculture.
The program now includes shop and greenhouse facilities, three more agriculture teachers and class offerings that include plant and animal sciences, mechanical technology and veterinary technician.
Riethman teaches horticulture to juniors and seniors.
Riethman has worked with the horticultural sciences program at Clark State Community College to develop a tech prep agreement that allows his students to earn college credit at Clark State.
He also has partnered with the Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District to participate in a wetland plants adoption project whereby more than 300 wetland plants from Grand Lake are wintered over in the school's greenhouse.
Horticulture students conduct water quality, nutrient uptake and growth tests on the plants and the data are prepared and shared with the conservation district and applicable farm groups. Riethman is working with Findlay University Environmental Science Department to share the students' wetland plant research studies.
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