Longtime FFA advisor retiring in August
By MATTHEW WEAVER
PALOUSE, Wash. -- There were a lot of tears in Garfield-Palouse High School when Buddy Carter announced his plans to retire this summer.
"From both sides," Carter said, noting he told his students before he told anybody else.
Carter, who turns 64 in July, has served as Garfield-Palouse FFA advisor for 18 years. Before that, he taught in Deary, Idaho, for 13 years and in Colville, Wash., for nine years.
Carter was born and raised on a cattle, hog, grain and hay farm in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and studied agricultural education at the University of Idaho.
Carter said he was inspired by several agricultural education teachers.
"I guess I've known since I was in high school that that was what I wanted to do," he said.
Carter and his wife of 43 years, Marie, estimate he has advised at least 5,000 students during his career.
"I think the time is right," he said of his retirement. "I have probably the best set of FFA officers I have ever had coming in the next two years. People are going to be hearing about these kids."
Carter will look over resumes and give some input during the transition but hopes to stay out of the search for his replacement. That's a decision he believes is best left to the students, faculty, administrators and parents, he said, stressing the need for a good fit.
The goal is to have a new person on board long before Whitman County's Palouse Empire Fair in September, to give time to interact with the students and vice versa, he said.
Carter's last day will be about Aug. 1. Remaining projects on his to-do list include fair signups, quality assurance classes and tending to the barn that holds the chapter's sheep flock.
Upon retiring, Carter plans to finish remodeling his house, go hunting and fishing and travel with Marie.
"My wife and I have traveled across the United States quite a bit, but over the last 40 years, we've always had a flock of kids with us wherever we've gone," he said.
Chandler Pfaff, president of the Garfield-Palouse FFA, and her brothers nominated Carter for a regional Teacher of the Month award, which Carter won, without knowing he was planning to retire.
"He was a best friend to everyone in high school," Pfaff said. "He is respected more than anyone I know and he is probably the most amazing teacher I will ever have."
Pfaff said Carter encouraged her to pursue the presidency.
"He inspires all of his students to really try to excel in all of their programs," said Hunter Woltering, FFA treasurer and a junior this fall. "He makes learning and being involved in the FFA really fun and makes everybody want to be a part of it. He's pushed us to do as much as we can and excel as much as we can."
Carter says he's proud of the many successes his students have had over the years.
"I think it's the accumulation of all of those put together," he said. "If the kids have some accomplishments to show for their time being here, then I think I've been successful."