Lt. governor Becky Skillman made the announcement at the Indiana FFA Convention in June- the executive director of Indiana FFA would be come a part of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. The only problem was she couldn't disclose who that person was yet.
Now the secret is out. The new Executive Director of FFA, the first who is an employee of ISDA, is Steve Hickey, who recently retired as ag teacher and FFA advisor at Shenandoah High School in Henry County after more than 30 years there. He spent his entire career at the same school. In the process, he racked up an impressive number of state and national wins in both proficiency areas and various contests offered through FFA.
That's not what's important to Hickey, however. "That was a career," he says. "This new position is a passion. Both my wife, Deborah, and I have a passion for helping kids and serving FFA. We hope in some small way we can make a difference for each of the 9,600 members of FFA in Indiana."
Sound impossible. Don't bet against this energetic achiever. He may be 55 years old, but he's still full of plenty of ideas of how to make FFA an even more productive organization. He promises he's not envisioning mass changes, just tweaks here and there to existing programs that should make FFA more student-friendly.
Joe Kelsay, director of ISDA, and Tony Hahn, assistant director, say they've been at work for about a year to make this process happen. Both felt that both FFA and ISDA can benefit long-term from the new arrangement.
Meanwhile, Anna Ariens who handled some of the tasks Hickey now will manage stays at the Department of Education. DOE sis till important to ag teachers and vocational agriculture, since funding comes through DOE that supports programs in every school in the state.
Look for an exclusive, in-depth, brass tacks interview with Hickey in the September issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer.
Meanwhile, the Indiana FFA Foundation Board announced a position opening. Basically, the board wants to fill the position vacated by Denise Mills, who moved to Rossville to pursue other interests with her family earlier this year. Mills was the person most responsible for working day-to-day with the Indiana FFA state officers.
Brain Buchanan, fund raiser for the Foundation, has also announced plans to leave to return to his family business. However, when he will depart is still uncertain. His job has not yet been posted for replacement.