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By: Texas FFA News
September 15, 2016

Texas FFA Association executive director, Tom Maynard, announced Monday his plans to retire from his position, effective January 9, 2017. 

For more than 16 years, Maynard has served the Texas Agricultural Education community and the association’s members and stakeholders, establishing models that enabled the association to double its membership from a little more than 56,000 members in 2000 to nearly 116,000 at year’s end in 2015-16. The membership gains recorded by the association are national records for any state FFA association.

The 88-year-old association is a leadership and career development student organization which operates as an integral part of the state’s career and technical education instructional program in agriculture, food and natural resources and has local chapters on 1,040 Texas campuses. 

Maynard masterminded efforts to develop the association’s policy and procedures and administrative and board structures. The organization operated as an extension of the Texas Education Agency for most of its history until 1998. He is also credited with stabilizing the association’s financial status, ushering its programs into the digital age by modernizing its communication and delivery processes and significantly expanding student leadership development, recognition and scholarship opportunities.

In a letter addressed to association board members, Maynard explained he is retiring from his position to pursue new interests, including greater engagement in public service, an enterprise that is a direct result of the Texas FFA “living to serve” culture and the knowledge and skills that he’s developed since first becoming a member of FFA at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch in 1978.

Maynard has served as a member of the State Board of Education since 2013.

“It has been a rare honor to serve one of the state’s most storied and iconic organizations. Who would have thought that a kid from Boys Ranch could ever have had such an opportunity?” Maynard wrote in his prepared statement. 

“There is something magical about giving a youngster a skill, because when he or she realizes that they can do something, they know that they can achieve many other things as well. That is the legacy of the “learning to do” model that so richly blessed me,” says Maynard. 

Maynard grew up at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, near Amarillo and attributes much of his professional achievements to the instruction and mentorship he received as an FFA member in that child care institution. Maynard served as a state FFA officer and had a successful 13-year career as a local agriculture instructor and FFA advisor before taking the helm of the state association in 2000.

“Those of us who do this work stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It is my sincere hope that I have done enough to build a legacy wide and strong enough for others who come after us to stand upon and to build upon, to continue to move this association forward to greater heights,” he says.

Maynard has also made his mark on the national level. He was part of the national task force that created the program affiliation model that allows a local chapter to affiliate as a member program, making all students members and eligible for participation, much in the same way that schools affiliate with the University Interscholastic League, as an avenue to remove barriers to participation by disadvantaged students. He was also part of the team that created the current national student delegate process and currently serves as president of the National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education, the national organization which represents those who provide state-level agricultural education leadership.

“Tom’s legacy and historic time with the Texas FFA will not be judged by the time of his service, but rather by the countless lives empowered by his passion, leadership and unwavering desire to serve others – he has represented the spirit of the ‘blue and gold,” says Aaron Alejandro, Executive Director of Texas FFA Foundation, referencing the organization’s trademark blue and gold corduroy jackets.

Texas FFA Association board chairman, Jack Winterrowd, says Maynard is the longest serving Texas FFA executive and his service is greatly appreciated by the organization’s members, agricultural educators, the Texas FFA Foundation, Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (VATAT) members, and the Texas FFA sponsors, supporters and alumni. 

VATAT Executive Director, Barney McClure states, “It has been an honor to work with Tom Maynard, first as a fellow teacher, then as his colleague.   His passion for agricultural education and the FFA has been evident in his work. I wish him the best in his future endeavors. He will be missed.”  

The VATAT is the organization which represents the state’s agricultural educators.

The board will immediately begin a search for Maynard’s successor.