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Loudoun County educator named Virginia AITC Teacher of the Year, receives national honor

Loudoun County educator named Virginia AITC Teacher of the Year, receives national honor

Amy Goodyear, a biology teacher at Heritage High School in Leesburg, has been named the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom 2024 Teacher of the Year.

The award recognizes a Virginia educator for incorporating agriculture into his or her core curriculum.

In addition to being named Virginia AITC Teacher of the Year, Goodyear is one of eight recipients of the 2024 National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award from the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization. Each year the organization honors eight pre-K through 12th grade teachers across the U.S. for innovative ways they are using agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies, STEM, STEAM and more.

Goodyear uses hands-on activities and real-life applications in her classroom to familiarize students with agricultural concepts. She encourages her students to develop a deeper understanding of agricultural sciences through activities like NASA’s Plant the Moon Challenge, a project that explores growing food on the lunar surface while emphasizing the importance of soils and nutrients for plant growth. The international challenge allows students to hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they dive into scientific concepts, mathematical equations and environmental studies.

“It was just fantastic to see all the different and engaging ways she is using agriculture to apply to many different modern problems, both here on Earth and on the moon,” said Lynn Black, Virginia AITC education program coordinator, during a Feb. 22 ceremony at Heritage High School.

Additionally, Goodyear employs agriculture as the medium to explore other required standards. Her students participate in a chicken embryology lab to study life cycles, experiment with strawberry DNA and use wheat products and breadmaking to study cellular respiration.

“Amy sees science and agriculture as living and breathing all around students, and she wants to facilitate opportunities for students to experience its wonder and impact on their daily lives,” said Tammy Maxey, Virginia AITC executive director. “As a result, students have a greater appreciation for agriculture and its potential career opportunities. Students who might not have considered it before can find themselves drawn to the world of agriculture.”

As Virginia AITC Teacher of the Year, Goodyear will receive a $500 cash award, and a $500 honorarium for the national award. She also will receive a scholarship to the 2024 National AITC Conference this June in Salt Lake City, where she and the other winning teachers will be recognized.

For more information on the Teacher of the Year recognition, visit

The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that promotes a greater understanding and appreciation of agriculture through education and outreach activities. To learn more and support, visit

Contact Maxey at 804-339-8244.