Clear Lake hires teacher to lead new ag curriculum

by Marianne Gasaway

Excitement is high for the launch of an agriculture program at Clear Lake Schools.

Tuesday night the Clear Lake Board of Education approved the hiring of Elisa Russ to lead the curriculum.   According to Superintendent Doug Gee, Russ was one of eight inteviewed for the position.  She will graduate from Iowa State University in May with a bachelor of science degree in Agriculture and Life Sciences Education.

Russ was in Clear Lake last week and again Monday to meet with middle and high school students to encourage them to sign up for her classes in the 2019-20 school year.

“Interest in agriculture is very high right now,” said Russ.  “There are so many opportunities in the field— things many don’t think of as rooted in agriculture.”

Russ said she is aware of the commitment the school district has made to revive an agriculture program here, evidenced by financial support from various entities and supported with an Ag/FFA Advisory Committee comprised of community and business members, including those from Farm Bureau, Nutriquest, Farm Credit Services, Ag Ventures and CLEAR Project Coordinator Jim Sholly.  She intends to utilize their expertise and insight into her coursework.

The New Hampton, Iowa native is a natural to share her enthusiasm for agriculture.  Her father has been an ag teacher in the New Hampton, Iowa school district for 35 years and her sister has also pursued ag education.  

“FFA (Future Farmers of America) was it for me in high school.  It was what I stuck with the longest and enjoyed the most,” she said.

Her interest and success in FFA has led to multiple honors and experiences for Russ.  She has served as not only president of the Iowa FFA Association, but is a National FFA Degree recipient, as well as a

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