Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year: Beth Prelgovisk
Even if you’ve only made occasional visits to the Messalonskee High School campus over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed the changes to the landscape. The entry sign to the school has seen the addition of a lovely new garden plot, blueberry bushes and apple trees have begun to pop up around the lawns, and of course, the beautiful greenhouse and garden plots are hard to miss.
All that work and much more is the result of one woman’s energetic leadership, Health and PE teacher and MHS Garden Coach, Beth Prelgovisk. She worked with a group of like-minded students to raise the money for the greenhouse through grants, fundraisers, and community donations. Under her guidance, the program continues to grow and expand each year at MHS. Her impact has also spread to other schools in the district through the opportunities she provides for MHS students to become Garden Mentors for the elementary schools.
On November 2nd that hard work was officially recognized on the state level as Mrs. Prelgovisk was awarded the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year.
This is the second year in a row that an RSU 18 educator has won the award. Last year’s Maine Agriculture in the Classroom teacher was Belgrade Central School teacher, Eric Brooks. Mr. Brooks is also the person who nominated Mrs. Prelgovisk for her inspirational and innovative work, her hands on interdisciplinary approach to agriculture in the classroom, and for her ongoing dedication to her students, her garden projects, and her community.
“Beth has been a leader in RSU 18 with the greenhouse project and has served as a volunteer curriculum leader to align the RSU 18 curriculum standards with agricultural concepts as part of the USDA Farm to School planning grant,” said Eric Brooks. He applauded Mrs. Prelgovisk’s work in the pilot program through the Maine School Garden Network and her work to make Garden Coach a recognized position within the school budget. “She makes RSU 18 stand out in the central Maine region and throughout the state through her strong garden program,” said Brooks. “Her work is now being modeled by other districts in the state!”
Mrs. Prelgovisk will attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference which is being held in Portland, Maine in June. She will also attend the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Teacher’s Institute free of charge and share her program with the other educators there.
written by Mandi Favreau