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Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership

Alumni Profile: Ashley Gaff, Agricultural Education

Agricultural Education alumna, 2013
Alumni Profile: Ashley Gaff, Agricultural Education

Ashley Gaff, agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor, Timberlake FFA, Oklahoma

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up on a family farm in Verdigris, OK. At the farm, we specialize in alfalfa, soybeans, wheat, forage, and cattle production. I graduated in 2009 from Sequoyah-Claremore but during my high school years, I found that most of my success was made through the FFA organization.

My own FFA and Agricultural Education experience is what inspired me to become an agricultural educator. I wanted to be able to provide students with the same experiences and opportunities that my advisor gave to me.  In 2013, I graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s in Agricultural Education. Upon graduating, I accepted a job at Timberlake High School in Helena, OK as the Agricultural Education Teacher and FFA Advisor. In 2016, I married my husband Dakota, who is also an OSU CASNR graduate. We now own and operate Gaff Farm Services, while we also farm wheat and run a cow-calf herd.

What is your favorite part about your job?

At Timberlake, we are a small Class C school, and there are just over 50 students enrolled in agriculture education. However, even though our program size is small, we have still been able to find great success.

The best part about my job is seeing my students succeed at things they’ve worked hard at. For example, at this year’s State FFA Interscholastics our Freshman Agriscience Quiz Bowl team won their contest and another student won his speech division and placed in another. In fact, because of team and individual success at the state contest, our chapter ended up in 5th place in the single teacher sweepstakes. Every single one of the students who competed worked extremely hard to win their gold medals and seeing the look on their faces when they win makes it all worth it.

One of the best moments so far of my teaching career has been at this year’s State FFA Convention when one of our Timberlake students was announced as the new Northwest Area Vice President and the first ever State FFA Officer from Timberlake. This student in particular had put in many, many hours and miles to earn his title and hearing his name announced was a surreal moment for the entire chapter.

How does your agricultural education degree help you in your career?

Ultimately, I teach agricultural education because I have a passion for the agriculture industry and I enjoy providing students with endless opportunities to better themselves as leaders and students. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing students and FFA members find success, while making ever-lasting memories and creating friendships that will last a lifetime.

My degree helped prepare me to become an effective teacher of agriculture. Through the Ag Ed degree program, I was not only able to learn about different teaching methods, I also have found the agricultural courses I completed within my degree helped me become a more well-rounded teacher.