Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

WAIC recognizes Cooley

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC) named Andrea Cooley, a fourth grade teacher at West Side Elementary in Worland, as the 2022 Educator of the Year.

WAIC was formed in 1986 with the vision to help students understand Wyoming resources. The statewide nonprofit is committed to making a difference and provide educational resources. A highlight of the program is the bookmark contest.

Within the last seven years, the focus has been on developing a curriculum and finding educators who will champion the resource for their students, classrooms and their school.

Cooley is a teacher who has done just that. Cooley has inspired the movement to introduce WAIC curriculum, and her entire grade-level team has used the Wyoming Stewardship Project curriculum extensively inside their classrooms.

Stewardship project and standards

The Wyoming Stewardship Project is aligned to the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards, focusing on science and social studies. The project focuses on second through fifth grade and has three units for each grade level: agriculture; minerals and energy; and outdoor recreation and tourism.

The Wyoming Stewardship Project only comes alive for students when a teacher tells the story and connects the story to the community. 

Cooley has also been the driving force in creating a new school garden and partners with local services, including the Washakie County Extension Office, the community garden and other businesses in the area. The garden has provided many hands-on experiences for students, and the food produced in the garden has been donated to over 100 families.

WAIC recognition 

WAIC Vice President Megan Degenfelder was able to surprise Cooley and recognize her before the end of the school year. 

Degenfelder commented, “As a board member, we don’t always get to see the work of WAIC in the classroom. It was such an honor to surprise Ms. Cooley with the award and hear students and parents alike cheering and chanting her name. Our teachers really make the difference in bringing this curriculum to life.” 

Her students truly enjoy learning through the Wyoming Stewardship Project and from her. She is a great ambassador for this program, she added.  

Cooley will be recognized during the week of the Wyoming State Fair by the Congressional delegation and receive a $2,500 cash prize at the 2022 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Picnic Aug. 17 at Riverside Park in Douglas.

This article is courtesy of the Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom. Send comments on this article to 

Back to top