7/24/2013 12:59:00 PM Former Chino Valley ag teacher assumes the reins at AAEC
Patrick Wellert takes over as principal at the Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center in Prescott Valley.
Chino Valley High School's agricultural education teacher Patrick Wellert has switched saddles to head up Prescott Valley's AAEC campus as school principal.
The Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center, located north of the Civic Center, begins its third year as a charter high school with about 225 students enrolled, Wellert said. It is the fifth AAEC campus, with the other four located in the Valley.
Wellert started at CVHS in 2002 teaching biological sciences, agriscience, agricultural mechanics and leadership development. He also ran the school's aquaculture lab and greenhouse. He chaired the career and technical education department, and was site council representative working on review and revision of student discipline and dress code policies. He has earned two master's degrees from Northern Arizona University in Educational Leadership and Educational Technology.
This year the school has enrolled 14 seniors, more than double the graduating class of six seniors this past spring.
"It's growing. The class behind will double again; we have 30 juniors," Wellert said, adding that the sophomore class numbers about 60.
The transition from eighth to ninth grade is difficult for some students, so one of his goals this year is to have eighth-graders from local schools visit the campus and shadow AAEC students.
Another goal is to provide guidance so students will graduate with college credits toward a specific associate degree through Yavapai College. A new course of study this year includes classes leading to a veterinarian technician certification, he said.
Wellert garnered the Arizona Agriculture Teachers Association Teacher of the Year award in 2009, and the FFA Black Canyon District Teacher of the Year 2013 award.