Kathy Hartmann-Breunig, of Sauk City, Wis., has been named the new executive director for the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE), a professional development organization for secondary and post-secondary instructors who teach agricultural-related curriculum.
Hartmann-Breunig replaces outgoing executive director, Nicole Nelson, who is leaving to pursue other opportunities in her local community.
“We are excited to announce our selection for our director position,” said Kris Beaver, president of WAAE and Waupun Area School District agricultural education instructor. “Kathy will bring a depth and breadth of experiences which will allow our organization to remain a visible part of the public education system in Wisconsin. Her years of experience with marketing, finance, sales, running her own business and event planning will allow her to hit the ground running for WAAE.”
“Agricultural educators have had a positive impact on my family. Four of my children took agriculture classes in school and it was an exciting journey for my youngest, BJ Chrisler, to serve as State FFA Vice President in 2008-2009 and State President in 2009-2010,” said Breunig. “Servant leadership is a core belief of mine. Having the opportunity to serve the agricultural educators of Wisconsin is such an honor. We have to tell our story to the public to showcase the importance of agriculture education in every classroom.”
Breunig is no stranger to agriculture. She raised her family on a dairy farm in Sauk Prairie with her husband, Tom and owned and operated her flower shop, Rainbow Floral, since 1995. “As a business owner, my greatest joy was working with the Floriculture Career Development Event team and providing a place for students to gain real world knowledge for their Supervised Agricultural Experience. After discussing succession plans with my family, selling the flower shop was the best but most difficult decision I have made. I couldn’t be more excited to continue to grow my connections in the agriculture industry and assist our talented educators with this position.”
Being actively involved in the FFA Alumni and Supporters has been a major part of Breunig’s life. She has served on the Executive Board of her local FFA Alumni and Supporter Chapter since 2008 and currently serves as treasurer. Kathy has also served the Wisconsin State FFA Alumni and Supporters as the Section 6 representative and State President. Her background also includes judging at State and National FFA Conventions. “I understand the benefits and importance of agriculture education and am dedicated to keeping it strong in Wisconsin. Agriculture Education has had a large impact on my family and it is now my opportunity to give back to this wonderful organization. I am so excited to begin this journey with WAAE and serve the most talented and dedicated educators in this state.”
Hartmann-Breunig will begin her role February 1 and will spend the first month working with the outgoing director, Nelson, to ensure a smooth leadership transition.
“On behalf of the WAAE Board of Directors, I would like to extend our gratitude to Nicole for her 4 years of outstanding service to our Association,” said Beaver.
WAAE is the professional association for agricultural educators in Wisconsin. Members include about 300 middle school, high school, technical college, and university educators.