Brad Irwin has already begun to get his classroom ready for the school year
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
The Pierz School District has hired veteran ag teacher Brad Irwin from Aitkin. He has accepted the FFA adviser position as well.
“I am really enjoying Pierz,” Irwin said. “The people here seem very friendly and welcoming. I think this will be a good fit for me.”
Over the years, Irwin has established a curriculum that has worked for him. In Pierz, he will be teaching three classes. The first will be an 80-minute class on sportsman’s resources. It will include studies on forestry, wildlife and natural resources.
Irwin’s second class, also 80 minutes long, will be on floral design. He will teach the history of design, colors and the arrangement of flowers and greens.
The third class on Irwin’s agenda is a 50-minute class on small, companion animals, better known as pets. During a segment of the class, students will learn about parasites and use microscopes for more in-depth study.
“I like to incorporated as many hands-on projects as possible,” Irwin said. “I like to see my students create, such as making fishing poles and other useful items. One thing I will be teaching in the sportsman’s resources class is using a timber cruising stick, a measuring device used to estimate board feet from a tree.”
Irwin’s goal is to have his students leave his class with a greater knowledge of agriculture through forestry, horticulture, landscapes, wildlife and more.
Irwin graduated from Motley High School in 1972.
“I had an ag teacher in Motley who was my mentor,” said Irwin. “Because he believed in me, he steered me in the direction of becoming an ag teacher.”
In 1974, Irwin graduated from the University of Minnesota – Crookston with an associate’s degree in agriculture. In 1976, he graduated from North Dakota State University with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture education.
“I then taught in Melrose for one year before I moved to Fergus Falls as the Ottertail County director for the Farm Services Agency,” he said.
Irwin was in Fergus Falls for about 10 years, then worked for Central Lakes College’s (CLC) satellite office in Aitkin, teaching farm business management for 17 years.
In 2001, Irwin received his master’s degree in educational leadership from Southwestern State University in Marshall.
From CLC, Irwin took a job teaching agriculture and physical science to students at the Aitkin Schools. While working in Aitkin, he was also the Aitkin County extension educator, another part-time position.
“My job in the Aitkin School District became part-time due to cuts,” he said. “I then applied to Pierz for the full-time position being offered.”
As the FFA adviser, Irwin plans to maintain the strength of the Pierz chapter. He will be involved with the student contests and community activities and hopefully send four or more teams to state competitions annually, as Pierz’ history shows.
Irwin said he has always been in the education field in some form or another and has always enjoyed teaching.
“I am anxious to meet my students,” he said.
Irwin has been married for 32 years to his wife, Renee, who is a family and consumer science teacher in Aitkin. The couple has a daughter, Molly, who is attending the Duluth Business College and pursuing a degree as a veterinary technician.
The Irwins love to garden, both flowers and vegetables, and enjoy spending time at their hunting cabin north of Motley.