The Nelson Academy of Agricultural Sciences Online team is dedicated to offering affordable, high quality agriculture courses to middle school and high school students. We also provide Adult Education courses and certifications to those looking to further their farm and ranch knowledge.
Mr. Nelson — CEO / Superintendent / Lead Teacher
Mr. Nelson grew up on a diversified farm and ranch in northeastern Montana, near the Canadian border. He attended school and graduated from the Peerless School in Peerless, Montana. Mr. Nelson attended UND Williston and began an associates degree in farm and ranch management. After his first year at UND Williston, he decided to attend Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, and began studying photography. Mr. Nelson soon realized he missed his agricultural roots and decided to pursue a degree in Agriculture Education. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in Agriculture Education in 1984. He spent the next 15 years teaching agriculture and advising FFA chapters in Scobey, Culbertson, Peerless and Opheim Montana. He was fortunate to have advised five Montana State FFA Officers during his teaching career. In 2004, Mr. Nelson began his administrative career as Superintendent of the Opheim School District. He obtained a masters degree from Montana State University in Educational Leadership. Mr. Nelson also obtained his superintendent endorsement from the University of Montana. Mr. Nelson feels it’s important that high school and adult students who do not have an opportunity to receive agriculture courses have the opportunity to do so in a convenient and flexible online format.
“I look forward to teaching all who have an interest in agriculture and want good, high quality courses. Join me in this great venture into the amazing world of agriculture! ”
Kristen Reinhardt — South Carolina Teacher
I grew up in Brevard, North Carolina. My family has had a farm since 1901. In the past it has been a dairy and burley tobacco farm. Today, it is a beef cattle farm, where meat and eggs are sold onsite! We also have a corn maze, that is open from August till October. I have been around horses since I was young, mostly trail riding. I worked for the Cliffs Communities Equestrian Center, teaching horseback riding lessons, leading trail rides and helping with other equestrian events. I also worked for a small animal veterinarian office, before starting college. I attended Clemson University in South Carolina and graduated with a B.S. in Agriculture Education. While at Clemson I also worked at the LeMaster Dairy, which is the dairy farm at Clemson. After graduation I received a job teaching Animal Science at Fort Mill High in SC. This is my ninth year teaching at Fort Mill! We have a very active FFA chapter and participate in many CDE’s and state events. I run an internship program for my 4th level completers and also manage our school greenhouse. I currently live in Rock Hill, SC; which is the hometown of my wonderful husband Chase. We met at Clemson, where he graduated with a B.S. in Ag. Mech. We have been married for 6 years and have one son Boyd who is a year old and keeps us very active. We also have 1 quarter horse, HP, he is my husbands team roping horse, 1 donkey, Gus, he is used for trail riding and 2 dogs; Georgia a Blue Heeler and Preacher a Catahoula. I am excited about being a part of the Nelson Academy of Agricultural Sciences Online family!
Kaylie Ackerley Siddall — New York Teacher
Mrs. Kaylie Ackerley Siddall was born in Neversink, New York and grew up in the Catskill Mountain region. Neversink is known for its 216 billion gallon reservoir that provides New York City with the drinking water needed to sustain such a large population. For this reason, along with the mountainous terrain, her exposure to agriculture was limited to the experiences available through her high school agriculture program. Ms. Ackerley or “Miss A” as her students call her, got a late start in the Tri-Valley FFA chapter, where she became an active member following a knee injury her 9th grade year. She credits her success in the FFA to the strong role models and influences of her advisor and mentor Tara Berescik, along with the encouragement of retired agriculture teacher Richard Strangeway. It was due to these influences that she went on to serve as the New York State FFA Treasurer. While serving as a State FFA Officer, Miss A was also tackling her first year of undergraduate studies at Cornell University. She began her post-secondary education with the intention of becoming a veterinarian however her State Officer experience exposed her to teaching workshops; an endeavor she fell in love with. She quickly added a dual major in agriculture education and set her goal on a new career: that of an agriscience educator. During her undergraduate program, she studied at the Swedish Agriculture University in Uppsala, Sweden where she was exposed to different animal agricultural practices and policies. It was in Sweden when Miss A took her first college course online and accredits much of her experience to a phenomenal professor. She learned the value and importance of building a relationship with her professor and peers in the class, despite the fact that the students she interacted with came from over 10 different countries across the globe. She began teaching as a long-term agriculture substitute at Southern Cayuga Central School in January of 2013. At the time she accepted the position, she was also completing her Masters in the Art of Teaching at Cornell University and credits this to her ability to juggle the many responsibilities that being an agriscience teacher requires. Miss A continues to challenge and improve her teaching techniques. She believes that students learn best when they are able to direct their own learning and be challenged by difficult questions. It is for this reason that during her time at Southern Cayuga, Miss A took on the challenge of a co-taught Ag with Math course using the Project-Based Learning methodology. When she is not reading up on literature for her PBL course, Miss A can be found outside mountain biking in the local state forests, raising puppies for seeing-eye dog organization Freedom Guide Dogs, and traveling to the National Parks to appreciate the beauty our country has to offer.
Kyle Kimble – Washington Teacher
Kyle Kimble has been an Ag. Teacher, FFA Advisor, Coach since 1999. Mr. Kimble started his teaching career at Mt. Baker High School in Deming, WA where he taught Horticulture, Advanced Horticulture, and Agriscience. While at Mt. Baker, he was also an assistant football coach and volunteer baseball coach. A school levy failure at Mt. Baker forced him to move to John Day, OR, where he taught at Grant Union High School from 2000-2002. Mr. Kimble was the first ag. instructor ever at GUHS and started the program in John Day. During his time at Grant Union he taught Ag. Mechanics, Ag. Leadership, Ag. I, and Ag. II courses. He also coached many state placing teams and the 2001 Oregon Creed Champion, and 2002 Oregon Marketing Plan Team. Mr. Kimble was also a very active assistant coach for the High School Baseball and Football teams. In 2002, Mr. Kimble and his wife decided to move a little closer to home in eastern Washington and took a job at Liberty High School in Spangle, WA. Liberty has a strong agriculture and FFA tradition and has been a great home to the Kimble’s for the past 13 years. During his time at Liberty he has taught, Ag. Science Technology, Ag. Leadership, Ag. Business, Horticulture, Ag. Mechanics, Metal Art, Computer Aided Drafting, and Robotics. While at Liberty his FFA has won 5 state Ag. Issues Championships (2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014) and a Tractor Driving Championship (2013) as well as countless state placing teams in contests such as Marketing Plan, Parliamentary Procedure, Novice Parli Pro, Creed Speaking, Agronomy, Livestock Evaluation, and Meats Evaluation. His program also competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition every year as well. Mr. Kimble has a passion for coaching athletics, where he has been a head and assistant for the High School and Youth Baseball and Football programs at Liberty. This summer, Mr. Kimble will be transitioning out of the classroom and onto the family farm in Pomeroy, WA. He will continue to teach agriculture online and coach sports at Pomeroy High School. Mr. Kimble is married to his wonderful wife Carrie and they have 3 boys, Tyson (12), Trevin (10), and Treyton (4).
Amber Thibodeau — Vermont Teacher
I grew up in Grahamsville, New York in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. My childhood home overlooked on of the reservoirs in the New York City Watershed system. My agricultural experiences growing up were very diverse, my grandparents worked a small hobby farm where we made maple syrup, grew our own vegetables and raised beef cattle, sheep and chickens. I have always loved horses and was given a pony when I was young. Having my own horse to ride and care for helped further develop my skills and interests and in high school I worked for a local boarding stable. I started in the Tri-Valley FFA chapter in 7th grade attending trips, competing in CDEs and holding chapter offices. I competed in the National Livestock Judging CDE in 9th grade and represented my FFA chapter in the Model of Innovation competition for the next 3 years. I was elected New York State FFA Secretary my senior year. I attended Morrisville State College where I majored in Equine Science and Management and obtained my Associate’s. I then transferred to Cornell University where I earned my Bachelors in Agricultural Education/Animal Science and Masters in the Art of Teaching. While in college I worked for the New York State FFA office as a student administrative assistant and the Cornell Equine Performance Clinic. I spent my summers working at the Oswegatchie Educational Center, New York’s FFA camp, and I love to volunteer at OEC whenever I get the opportunity. While there, I met my husband Jamie. Most recently I worked as a 4-H Educator for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County. I currently live in Southern Vermont with my husband and our Labradoodle, Angus. I also have a QH mare, Tulsa. I am excited to be a part of the Nelson Academy of Agricultural Sciences Online community!
April Garris — North Carolina Teacher
I grew up just outside of Reidsville, in the rural community of Bethany, North Carolina and come from a long line of farmers. Most of my life, my family raised tobacco, corn, wheat, beef cattle, hogs and chickens. We have had a few dairy cows, as well. We also had horses for riding pleasures. I have always enjoyed agriculture and working the land with my family. During my high school career, I was an active FFA member serving as chapter Reporter and President. I am also a National FFA Degree Recipient. I attended North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina and graduated with a B.S. and Master’s in Agriculture and Extension Education with minors in Animal Science and Agribusiness Management. While studying at NCSU, I also worked at the Dairy Education Unit, which is the dairy farm at NCSU. During my summers at home, I worked for the Upper Piedmont Research Station conducting extensive research on beef cattle and crops such as tobacco and grapes. After graduation I began my teaching career at Eastern Randolph High School in Ramseur, NC. I taught Agriscience, Animal Science I&II and Equine Science I&II. At the time, we had the top FFA Program in the state of NC and participated in numerous CDE’s. A few years later, I had the opportunity to move back home and spent two years teaching at McMichael High School in Mayodan, NC where I taught Agriscience, Animal Science I&II, Horticulture I&II and Ag Mechanics. I was able to re-build the FFA Chapter and start the Alumni Program while at McMichael. I currently live in Stokesdale, NC with my husband, Stephen. We have been married for 5.5 years and have two daughters, Ansley (4), Addison (2) and one son, Jackson (1). I decided to take a step back from teaching when my first child was born and take the time to be a mommy. I have been a stay at home mom since Fall 2010. I have been blessed to be able to stay home with them.
Lillian Bowen – National Recruiter
I grew up in rural Caswell County, NC on a beef backgrounding and tobacco farm.We ran about 2,500 head of cattle and 200 acres of flue-cured tobacco. My parents also had a Grading and Forestry business based out of Lake Toxaway, NC and my mother was a high school science teacher. I have always had a menagerie of animals including horses, chickens, steers, hogs, rabbits, and ducks. During my childhood and during high school I was a part of 4-H. Even though my school did not offer FFA, I still competed in 4-H Horsebowl, livestock shows, and Envirothon. I attended North Carolina State University and majored in Agricultural Business Management with a minor in Animal Science and concentration in Biological Sciences. During my time at NC State I was an Crop Science teaching assistant, Young Farmer and Rancher, Agriculture Future of America Young Leader, and worked for Costal Agrobusiness Inc. I completed my degree in three years and graduated at nineteen years old. In May of 2015 I married my best friend and business partner, Joseph. After we got married we ran a logging operation in Johnston County, North Carolina. We currently live in Topsfield, Maine on a 173 Acre tree farm. We run two outfitting lodges; one in New Brunswick, Canada and the other in Topsfield, Maine. Our “kids” consist of three labs, Dixie, Abby, and Steel and a holland lop bunny, JoJo.
I grew up learning about farming and meeting farmers through my dad. It was always his dream to someday own a small farm, and when I was 12, that dream came true. Since then, I’ve lived our 23-acre hobby farm. We’ve had goats, bees, steers, quail, and a few other different animals, but now we have laying hens, beef steers, and a couple horses. I’ve been passionate about horses as long as I can remember. Finally getting my own horses when I was 13 years old. In high school, I had the opportunity to train yearlings for a local horse farm. I was very active in 4-H in high school, first showing goats, and then participating in 4-H horsebowl, qualifying for the Regional team in North Carolina. I graduated from Montreat College in May of 2017 with a B.S. Psychology, concentration Human Services. In my free time, I love riding horses, writing, hiking with my dog, and reading on my front porch swing. I’m grateful for the opportunity of working for Nelson Agriculture School Online.
April Pittman enjoyed ten years in the agriculture education classroom in Hope Mills, North Carolina. She has a love for horticulture, natural resources, and helping students live up to their full potential through agriculture education. Over the years, she has gained a Masters Degree and National Board Certification in Agriculture Education. This expertise will now be used in creating curriculum for the Nelson Agriculture Academy online. After enjoying her time in the classroom, April will now be working from home and taking care of her small children. She is here to help with any of your curriculum needs. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.