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MAHS ag instructor Natasha Mortenson finalist for national community service award

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announces Natasha Mortenson of Morris, Minn., as the Region III winner of ACTE's Outstanding Teacher in Community Service award.

Mortenson is one of five finalists vying for the national title of 2012 ACTE Outstanding Teacher in Community Service award, which recognizes teachers with significant accomplishments and outstanding leadership in programs and activities that promote community involvement.

The winner will be announced during the ACTE Friday General Session and Awards Program at ACTE's Annual Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 18, 2011.

Natasha Mortenson has been described as both "a teacher and a life-toucher." As an agriculture educator and FFA adviser at Morris Area High School, Mortenson's enthusiasm and belief in agriculture has increased interest and participation in the agriculture industry among students.

Mortenson's belief that service creates the "whole person" CTE seeks to send into the workforce has prompted her to create numerous opportunities for service-learning and leadership development for her students. Morris FFA students participate in innovative service-learning opportunities like "Agriculture in the City," which brings her students to Minneapolis inner-city schools to teach elementary school students about agriculture and food production. This program, powered by her guidance, reaches more than 700 inner city children each year.

Mortenson's ingenuity and leadership have also helped to improve her community as a whole. Agriculture commodity groups have responded positively to the tremendous growth her efforts have generated in the agricultural program and FFA at Morris. By partnering with local businesses and agriculture commodity groups, Mortenson not only creates opportunities for her students to gain real-world experience, but has encouraged community service among all the groups involved in agricultural education in Morris, Minnesota.

For more information about this award, please visit