Chad Warnick, an agricultural education teacher and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor at Delta Technical Center in Delta, Utah, has been recognized as the 2023 Utah Teacher of the Year. Despite the honor, Warnick remains committed to his students, as evidenced by his actions the day after the announcement. Instead of basking in the limelight, he could be found driving around Delta in his pickup truck, collecting soil samples for his students to analyze.
“It was unexpected, just overwhelming,” expressed Warnick when asked about the honor. Despite his preference for working with students rather than seeking individual recognition, he acknowledges the significance of the award. “I’m by no means the best teacher in Utah. But it’s an honor to be able to represent teachers and specifically for an opportunity to represent ag teachers because it’s an amazing group of people that I’m able to interact with throughout the year from across the state,” he added.
For Warnick, this achievement holds a personal connection. He recalls his father, Waldo Warnick Jr., being named Utah Teacher of the Year in 1990. “I didn’t really know what it meant, but I knew it was a big deal,” he shared. This early exposure to the award’s significance, along with his father’s influence, made the recognition even more meaningful to him.
The 2023 Utah Teacher of the Year’s dedication to teaching and his students is evident in the emotions displayed by his family and school administrators during the announcement. With tears of joy, they celebrated his well-deserved honor. Accompanied by a $10,000 check, the award represents not only Warnick’s commitment to education but also the impact he has had on his students’ lives.
“Warnick not only teaches content and skills, but he also helps students grow into confident young adults,” said Brett Callister, Delta Technical Center Principal.”Mr. Warnick not only directs students on a path to a successful career, but more importantly, he guides each student to have a belief in themselves that they can succeed in life.”
As Utah’s Teacher of the Year, Warnick will have the opportunity to compete at the national level and engage in various state and national leadership opportunities. He intends to use this platform to shed light on technical education and the unique challenges faced by teachers in rural schools. Warnick recognizes the importance of adaptability, especially regarding travel, as students in rural areas often face long distances for extracurricular activities.
Furthermore, Chad Warnick aims to advocate for technical education and highlight the diverse pathways available to students beyond traditional college routes. He believes in empowering students to find their purpose and succeed in their chosen fields. By showcasing the value of trades and skills, he hopes to broaden perspectives and support students in discovering their true potential.
The agricultural educator’s impact extends beyond the classroom, with former students seeking his guidance even after graduation. He fosters meaningful relationships and imparts life skills that last a lifetime. Recognized as a teacher who leaves a lasting impression, Warnick’s commitment to student success and personal growth is unmatched.
Chad Warnick’s journey as an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor exemplifies the dedication and passion of educators. His recognition as the 2023 Utah Teacher of the Year serves as a testament to his unwavering commitment to his students, his field, and the community. As he continues to inspire and guide future generations, Warnick remains grounded in his understanding that, above all, “you’re dealing with kids.”