McCORMICK, S.C. – The McCormick Messenger
Timothy K. Keown of Iva, one of the state’s leading agricultural educators, has been named director of the education center being developed for the School for Agriculture at historic John de la Howe.
Keown, who will join the de la Howe staff July 2, comes to the school with an extensive background in teaching and leading programs such as the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and the state’s Young Farmer Program. Since 2014, he has been the associate state director of agricultural education for the Piedmont and Mid-State Regions of S.C. and the executive secretary for the S.C. Young Farmers and Agribusiness Association of Clemson University.
His appointment underscores the commitment that is being made by S.C. and John de la Howe to educate high school students, who will become the next generation of agricultural leaders, said Hugh Bland, chairman of the Board of Trustees at de la Howe.
“Mr. Keown represents the future of agribusiness, which is the state’s leading industry,” he said. “In addition to the education that high school students will receive at the de la Howe School for Agriculture, we are developing agricultural programs that will bring students of all ages to our campus.
“Mr. Keown’s leadership in agricultural education activities and his mentorship of FFA students make him the perfect leader for this new center. His enthusiasm and demonstrated knowledge of modern agriculture will be invaluable in our efforts to develop a school that is so innovative that it will be the only one of its kind in the U.S.,” he said.
Keown said that he is excited about the educational opportunities that await the future students of the de la Howe School of Agriculture. “I can foresee students from all across the great state of S.C. making John de la Howe not only their school, but their home. This kind of school doesn’t exist anywhere else in the nation,” he said.
“We have the land resources, agricultural equipment, cottages, and learning lab space that schools across the country will envy. I know without doubt that the mission we are carrying out will honor the will of Dr. de la Howe and furthermore will bring a breath of fresh air to McCormick County.
“I’m eager to officially come on board on July 2 to begin recruiting the top agricultural education students in our great state,” he said.
Clemson University’s College of Agriculture named Keown to its “Young Alumni of the Year” program in 2018. The S.C. Young Farmers and Agribusiness Association named him the Young Farmer Advisor of the Year in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.
His record of service and leadership among the state’s FFA program includes advisor to 18 state FFA Proficiency Award winners, four state winners in FFA contests and 28 state FFA degree recipients. In recent years, he was an advisor to the Piedmont Region Young Farmer vice president, the largest Young Farmer chapter in South Carolina, the national Young Farmer president and the Young Farmer of the Year for South Carolina.
In 2010, Keown was named Young Agricultural Education Teacher of the Year by the S.C. Association of Agricultural Educators, which also had named him the Young Agricultural Education Teacher of the Year in 2007. He was named the Crescent High School Teacher of the Year in 2010 and the Anderson County Conservation Teacher of the Year in 2008.
He was named the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year by WYFF-TV in 2009 and honored by The Anderson-Independent as one of the “Top 20 Leaders Under 40” for Anderson County. He was honored for his accomplishments by the SC House of Representatives in 2011.
Keown earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education, with a minor in agricultural mechanics and business, from Clemson University in 2004. He earned a master’s degree in agricultural education with an emphasis on educational leadership from Clemson in 2009. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Clemson.
This story first appeared in The McCormick Messenger.