Exeter agriculture teacher earns statewide award

Exeter High School’s Dan Crookham is named Outstanding Agriculture Teacher for the State of California

EXETER – Dan Crookham doubled the size of the Exeter High School ag program and led it to national titles during his 31 years as an ag teacher there. Not surprising for one of the best agriculture teachers in the state, a title he now also holds.

On June 25, the California Agricultural Teachers Association (CATA) held an presentation naming Crookham the Outstanding Agriculture Teacher for the State of California. Crookham has just completed his 31st year at Exeter Union High School (EUHS) where he is an ag mechanics specialist, farm manager and FFA Advisor. He is the first teacher at Exeter High to win this award.

The award is based on several criteria. The applicants must have received the CATA “Teacher of Excellence” award, been active in the CATA organization, and developed ties in their community, the ag industry and with their FFA chapter. The scorecard also looks at the strength and relevance of the program in the school and community. The Exeter FFA is a nationally recognized chapter because of its members, advisors and community support.

Crookham was a new graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo when he came to Exeter to work in July of 1989. The program at EUHS was 250 students and three teachers with a combined two years of experience between them. He has worked over the years to make the 20-acre school farm facility a showcase in the state and nation. Today, the Exeter’s ag program boasts a roster of about 450 students, including a middle school course, with four full-time ag teachers, a full-time farm foreman and many national awards to show for their efforts. It is the largest school citrus farm in the state.

“Every one of my students can come back to the school farm and point at something that they had a hand in building,” said Crookham. “This school farm is a community resource and I strive to make connections with all students and the facility. I am grateful to have spent my career in a town that supported agriculture, with dedicated coworkers and a supportive tration.”

Crookham has taken on a variety of leadership roles and countless committee appointments during his tenure. He has served through the chairs in the CATA up to San Joaquin Region president, and through the Exeter High Teachers Association to two terms as president and many years as negotiations chair. Crookham has supervised 26 final student teachers from three universities over the years. He currently serves his community as vice president to the Exeter Veterans Memorial District. He has assisted an array of community groups, clubs and teams over the years, typically cooking at fundraisers.

“Dan will always help out where he can in our school, city, FFA or the CATA,” Kevy Mendes, Crookham’s Department Chair at Exeter High said. “He loves what he does and is an effective professional.”

Crookham lives in Exeter with his wife of 26 years, Karrie. They have two sons, Connor and Ryan, who recently graduated college.

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