Cotaco agriscience teacher gets Teacher of Year honor
By Wes Tomlinson
For the Enquirer
Cotaco School’s agriscience teacher Erin Fields keeps her students active. This past week they trimmed trees on the school’s campus and planted tomatoes, squash and zucchini.
“There’s always engagement at the shop,” said Cotaco assistant principal Brandon Tew, who used to teach agriscience at Cotaco. “Students take agriscience for the hands-on experience, where they learn leadership skills, and she does a great job teaching that to them.”
Fields’ ability to engage with her seventh-grade students and work as a team player earned her recognition Tuesday as the Morgan County Secondary Teacher of the Year.
Cotaco Principal Kim Crow said Fields is always willing to help students and faculty.
“Erin is the most reliable, hard-working, dependable and loving person,” Crow said. “She will do anything you ask her to do. She is always volunteering to help and is always on time. She’s just an amazing person.”
Fields, 25, said she always has various projects in the works for her students.
“Last year we made garden beds, and the students did their woodworking project,” Fields said.
Tew said he sees the same passion in Fields that he had as an agriscience teacher and as the FFA adviser at Cotaco.
“One thing that I think she brings out even more than I did is her (leadership) in FFA,” Tew said. “She’s helped the team bring home some awards, so our students are winning. She gets kids involved in agriculture and definitely meets the district’s expectations.”
Tew and Crow both said Fields is attentive to every one of her students’ needs, in and out of the classroom, and always puts safety first.
“Whenever you go in there, she is meticulous about safety,” Crow said. “The students always have all their safety equipment on, and they’re doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Fields grew up in Danville. She attended Wallace State Community College before earning her teaching degree from Auburn University. She said she first fell in love with agriculture when she became involved in FFA as a Danville High student
“My agriscience teacher at Danville really pushed me and inspired me to be good in all things,” Fields said. “He just really opened me up to the world of agriculture and that it’s not just about farming. Everything involves agriculture.”
DeeDee Hendrix, Cotaco instructional coach, was selected as Elementary Teacher of the Year.