California Agricultural Teachers' Association

Mark Your Calendar

July 29 - Executive Committee Meeting

August 11 - Governing Board

September 18-19 - Southern Region Meeting

September 25 - North Coast Region Meeting

October 11 - South Coast Region Meeting

Oct 28-Oct 31 - National FFA Convention

November 5-6 - New Professionals Conference, Fresno

November 7 - Cotton State Finals, CSU, Fresno

November 21 - Central Region Meeting

November 21 - San Joaquin Region Meeting

December 1-5 - NAAE Conference, Nashville, TN

December 15 - Superior Region Meeting

December 4 - Community College Midwinter Institute

January 7-8 - Student Teacher Conclave

January 17-18 - CATA Advanced Leadership Conference, Wonder Valley

January 17-18 – Winter Governing Board, Wonder Valley

January 23 – Natural Resources State Finals, Reedley College

February 1-2 - Supervising Teachers Institute

February 6 – Winter State Finals - Citrus, Tree and Vine Pruning, CSU-Fresno

February 19-20 - North Coast Region Meeting, Arcata HS

February 20 - San Joaquin Region Meeting, Mission Oak HS,Tulare

February 22 - South Coast Region Meeting, Cuesta College, SLO

February 27 - Southern Regin Meeting, Cal Poly Pomona

February 27 - Central Region Meeting

March 13 - Superior Region Meeting, Chico HS

March 20-23 - State FFA Leadership Conference

April 17 - CSU-Fresno Field Day, CSU, Fresno

April 20-23- NAAE Region 1 Meeting, Bozeman, Montana

May 1 - State FFA Judging Finals, Cal Poly, SLO

June 20 - Executive Committee Meeting, Cal Poly, SLO

June 20 - Pre-Conference Governing Board, Cal Poly, SLO

June 20-24 - CATA Summer Conference, Cal Poly, SLO

June 24 - Governing Board Summer Retreat, San Luis Obispo

CATA Hall of Fame - Class of 2020

Mark A. Anglin

Hilmar High School 1977-1980, Atwater High School 1980-1997, Modesto Junior College 1997-2015

Teacher of Excellence 1988
Honorary American FFA Degree 1988
California FFA Distinguished Service Citation 1992


Mark Anglin was raised on his family's dairy farm first in Bryan, Texas, then moving to Hilmar, California.  Mark's  agriculture teacher and lifelong mentor Ed Fischer greatly impacted his life and thus his teaching career, following in his footsteps to teach at Hilmar High School, then on to Atwater where he garnered recognition with four state champion career development teams and scores of State and American Degrees.  Mark pioneered the use of computers in agricultural education and later worked to develop the first electronic recordbook.

Mark made the move to Modesto Junior College where he developed a nationally recognized dairy program, again garnering recognition with four National Champion Dairy  Judging teams.  His leadership in the state was valuable as he worked with teachers to develop better programs and SOEPs.

As the Dean of the Agriculture Department at Modesto Junior College, Mark left a legacy of success with the program being recognized as the Outstanding Post Secondary Program four times.  One of the greatest physical tributes to Mark's dedication is the Agriculture Pavilion on the west campus of MJC. This amazing complex came to fruition under the watchful eye of  Mr. Anglin's management.

Mark E. Bender

Tranquility High School 1973-1974, Ceres High School 1974-1976, Modesto Junior College 1976-2002,
Stanislaus State University 2002-2014

Teacher of Excellence 1985


Dr. Mark Bender graduated from Lodi HS before transferring to Delta College and then Fresno State. His Masters Degree is from Cal Poly, SLO and his Doctorate from Oregon State University. He taught high school one year at Tranquility and two years at Ceres before moving to Modesto Junior College.

He spent twenty-seven years at Modesto Junior College as an Instructor, Grant Director, Tech Prep Consultant and Dean. During his tenure he worked tirelessly to create state wide articulation programs allowing students to prepare for their future in post secondary education.

Mark left Modesto Junior College to create and open the Ag Studies Program at CSU Stanislaus. Dr. Bender guided the program for the next twelve years. He served on numerous state committees for agricultural education including the development of the articulation agreements, the electronic portfolio, and several program guides through the Tech Prep Consortium.

His passion for horticulture, rabbits and meat goats was evident through the assistance he offered to countless chapters with donations, advice, and experience. His service to the Stanislaus County Fair as small animal superintendent and avid booster for the auction are a small portion of his selfless service to our profession.

Gary Lesh

John W. North High School 1967-1974, Manteca High School 1973-1975, Alan Hancock Jr. College 1975-1977, Rubidoux High School 1977-1989, Jurupa Valley High School 1989-2001, Riverside City College 1995-1998, West Valley High School 2002-2005

Outstanding Young Member 1969
Teacher of Excellence 1973
Outstanding Teacher 2001
Star Advisor 1981
Honorary American Degree 1996


Following his agriculture teacher, Mr. Harold Fleming's advice back in 1957 to "think about being an Ag teacher", Gary Lesh has done just that. After serving in the Army and Army Reserves, Gary proceeded to build a legacy of student and program successes.  Gary worked with sixty student teachers and had thirty-two students who became agricultural teachers. 

Gary had great vision creating progressive ag curriculums which still exist today. During his 53 years in education he planned, rebuilt and refurbished existing programs and built a new ag program and ag academy. His "can do" philosophy and tenacity to tackle a job and the motivational skills to involve community and student support to get that job done. Into his retirement, Gary travels everywhere he can to help provide strong agricultural education experiences for students.

Pamela J. "Pj" LoCoco

Cambria Union High School 1980, Paso Robles High School 1981, Atascadero High School 1981-1982,
Santa Rosa Junior College 1982-2015

Outstanding Young Member 1986
Teacher of Excellence 1990
FFA Distinguished Service Citation 1998
Honorary American FFA Degree 2007


Pamela J. "Pj" LoCoco is a pioneer in California agricultural education.  Her passion for education and students culminated with over 35 years of dedicated service to our profession, state, and her students. Pj served the CATA as the first female state president in 1992, ten years after she had become one of the first women to teach agriculture at the community college level.  Her leadership at both the local and state level provided an outstanding model for all. She worked diligently on the Post Secondary In-Service and Mid-Winter Committees to ensure her colleagues were supported in best practices. While teaching at Santa Rosa Junior College, Pj's  green thumb allowed her to nurture plants and students alike as she assisted in the development of an outstanding post secondary program.  Her willingness to teach and mentor kept her busy, but she still found time to create ten certificate programs, and forty-seven different courses. 

Pj continued to influence the Post Secondary ranks with her service on the ANR Advisory Committee, setting policy and evaluating programs statewide. All of this while raising two outstanding sons whom are Eagle Scouts and excelled in athletics and academics. with her husband Tom.

Kevin Koelewyn

Livingston High Schoo 1990-1991, Wasco High School 1991-1993, Kingsburg High School 1993-1998,
Tulare High School Farm 1998-2018

Teacher of Excellence 2005
Outstanding Teacher Don Wilson Memorial 2019
Star FFA Advisor 2003
Honorary American FFA Degree 2005


Vince Lombardi said, "Winning is not a sometimes thing...it is an all the time thing." This was the motto that Kevin Koelewyn modeled in his classroom.

Kevin bred achievement and success in his classroom. He commanded respect from his students, was wise to the world and needs in education, and served as a mentor and friend to his students. Kevin was a dedicated servant to his family, faith, community, and our profession; his leadership at the local and state levels helped to guide the direction and focus of our programs and will be felt for years to come.

Kevin is best remembered as an educator, mentor, and friend. Outside of the classroom, Kevin was a youth baseball coach for his son, Kaleb's team.

A beloved husband, father, mentor, educator, and friend, Kevin left this world too early during a trip to the National FFA Convention in 2018. Kevin is survived by his wife Cathy, and children, Madilyn, Audra, and Kaleb.