hen Jeff Klose started teaching agriculture at Canyon High School, there was barely a program, with 67 students, now after seven years Klose has built the program to one of the biggest agriculture programs in the nation, with 400 students.
Klose said he learned two lessons at Texas Tech University he tries to teach to his students: you have to beg, barrow, and steal from others; and, second, the education is as equally important as teaching students how to live and work in society and how social situations work.
Klose credits his family, friends, education, and a career he adores to his time at Texas Tech. Klose said he also enjoyed his college experience.
“I tell my wife all the time,” Klose said, “if I won the lottery, like the big billion-dollar lottery, I would quit my job and go back to college. That’s how much I love Texas Tech.”
Klose first major at Texas Tech was chemical engineering. He then changed to wildlife biology. Klose said wildlife biology just wasn’t for him, so he went back to his dorm and prayed, trying to figure out what he was going to do.
“When I really got down to it the things that made me happy were all in the agricultural education profession, so that’s when I knew this is what I had to do,” Klose said.
Klose said he loves the people, comradery, and being an agriculture teacher, but his favorite part of teaching is watching his students be successful and see what his students achieve after they leave the program.
After Klose graduated from Texas Tech, in 2002, his first job as an agriculture teacher was at Lubbock Cooper High School. After five years, he moved to Bridgeport, Texas, where he taught for three years.
“My wife, who is from Pampa, Texas, said ‘you get me back to the Panhandle as fast as possible’ I said, ‘yes ma’am,’” Klose said with a laugh.
They brought me in to build the best program, the best FFA chapter in the nation,
So, when Klose’s advisor at Texas Tech, told him about the position opening in Canyon, he applied.
“Canyon has always intrigued me because it sits in the middle of one of the largest agricultural regions in the world,” Klose said. “For a very long time, the ag program was very weak. There just was not a focus on agricultural educational.”
“They brought me in to build the best program, the best FFA chapter in the nation,” Klose said. “We are not there yet, it has been seven years, but we are getting closer.”
When Canyon Independent School District hired Klose, there were 67 students enrolled in agriculture classes. Klose said by his second year, there were 300 course requests for agriculture classes and the programs numbers have since been rising steadily since. Klose spent the summer calling parents to encourage their students to take an agriculture class.
When Klose first started the program had the capacity for 100 students. This included one classroom, a small office, and one agriculture teacher. In the past seven years, four other agriculture teachers have been to the added to the program and their building was renovated to include three classrooms, an office, and a big agricultural mechanics shop.
Logan Giles, who was one of Mr. Klose’s students, said the number of students enrolled in an ag class grew every year, during his four years.
Klose said if enough agriculture mechanics course requests come in, they will be hiring another agricultural mechanics teacher and adding on to their building, again.
“Anytime you grow a monster you have to continue to feed that monster,” Klose said.
Klose said what drives him to further develop the program is to teach as many students as he can about agriculture, even if it not much. He said he is most proud of his student success.
Giles said Mr. Klose would work to teach students who did not grow up in an agriculture setting the fundamentals of agriculture. Giles also said Mr. Klose inspired to him to show people the reality of the agriculture community.
“He really worked hard to get everyone involved in different FFA competitions and classes where they could just learn some kind of trait in agriculture,” Giles said.
Giles said Klose works hard to get know every student and build a relationship with them, and that Klose wants to know his students really well.
“He really wanted to teach and get everyone involved in agriculture in some way,” Giles said.
“You get in the classroom and you start training all these teams and taking these kids on trips,” Klose said. “You get to see the growth of these students and for them to go on and graduate is really amazing.”
“The public perception of what we do is detrimental to our profession right now and agriculture in general, that the more young lives we can touch and help understand the future, the better we can be,” Klose said.