SALINA, Kan. -- For any job, seminars and conferences can benefit employees by stimulating new ideas and finding resolutions to universal problems. Ten Kansas agricultural educators recently attended the first ever beginning agriculture teacher’s retreat, where they learned about financial planning information and service-learning in agricultural education. 

“In order to secure a stable financial future, teachers need to understand how to create and achieve financial goals and become familiar with investment and ownership and the risks associated with them,” said Brandie Disberger, an agricultural education instructor at Kansas State University. “With this training, early-career teachers become more financially competent and secure so that teaching long-term is an option for them.”

The retreat began Dec. 6  at K-State Salina with presentations by Martin Seay, K-State assistant professor in Personal Financial Planning (PFP) and several PFP graduate and undergraduate students. Topics included basics of investing, risk management, retirement, home ownership and teacher loan forgiveness.

The retreat continued Dec. 7 at Ell-Saline high school, with lectures from Jerry Schmidt of Minneapolis High School and Lee Weis of Ell-Saline High School on balancing an agricultural education program and becoming “visible” in the community.

Trish Gott, K-State assistant director for service learning, and a group of leadership studies students worked to connect the participants with resources and ideas to complete a service learning project in their communities.

“The ultimate goal of the program is to obtain long-term private funding for the conference to increase the retention rate of agricultural educators across the state,” Disberger said. “By providing financial education and service learning exposure, this conference served to stimulate community involvement and promote financial security for early-career agricultural education teachers.”

The conference was funded by a grant from K-State’s Center for Engagement and Community Development. Participating teachers received funding to support and complete a service learning project in their communities.

Attendees included high school instructors Chelsy Champlin, Sedan; Jacqueline Gabbert, Marysville; Krista Rice, Hoxie; Gloria Belton, Plainville; Karl Dawn Hobbs, Ellsworth; KaCee Thompson, Hiawatha; Chris Bauerle, Prairie Hills; Amanda Griffin, Solomon; Drew Obermeyer, Valley Heights; and John Bergin, Southeast of Saline.