CATA Hall of Fame - Class of 2022


Jim Aschwanden 
Chowchilla Union High School 1976-1978, Galt High School 1978-1993, UC Davis 1995-1997, CATA Executive Director 1993-2017

Honorary American Degree 1988 
Teacher of Excellence 1991
Agriscience Teacher of the Year 1992
Honorary State Degree 1994
CATA Founders Award 2017
National FFA VIP Award 2018

Jim's belief and passion for agricultural education stemmed from his own success as a product of Galt FFA.  The vision and pursuit of excellence that he brought to the classroom followed him in his role as the executive director of the CATA.  Jim was instrumental in making the delivery of relevant, rigorous and hands on learning available to California students for nearly five decades.

His leadership of the CATA saw growth in membership and service to the teachers of California.  His vision and steadfast work with the legislature and service on the California State School Board allowed agricultural education to prosper as other CTE programs faded. 

Jim was instrumental in the development and growth of the California FFA Foundation, The FFA Adult Board and the construction of the California FFA Center. Jim definitely left the programs in California better than he found them leaving an indelible mark on Agricultural Education in the state and across the nation.


Darlene Gilles 
Clovis High School 1984-1993, Madera/Madera South High School 1993-2018

Teacher of Excellence 2003 
Honorary American Degree 2008 
CATA Outstanding Teacher 2009

Darlene's career spanned thirty-four years mentoring individual Ag teachers one on one, sharing what she had learned.  She always believed that helping each other learn and improve our skills in the classroom, SAE, FFA makes us all better, which benefitted students across the state.

Her biggest achievements made during her time was seeing our department change the attitude of our Hispanic students about the importance of Agriculture and FFA to their futures.  By highlighting that they are as capable of achievement and equally deserving, this small change helped to improve the program, school, and community. 

Darlene worked tirelessly to serve the CATA at the section, region and state levels while she developed an exemplary Floral Design Curriculum and full-fledged student run business at her program.  This allowed her students to flourish and succeed in the floral industry.


George Gomes

FFA Foundation Board Member & Chair
Cal Poly Ag Advisory Council Chair
CA State Fair Ag Advisory Chair
Western Fairs Association, Life Member
Associate Professor Cal Poly, SLO
Fair Manager, Napa County Fair
Chief, Division of Fairs & Expositions, CDFA
Undersecretary, CDFA
Administrator, CFBF
Second Term Undersecretary, CDFA

While never a secondary classroom teacher, George believed in the Blue and Gold with an unwavering passion.  His service as a founding member of the California FFA Foundation, cultivating financial support and relationships for over four decades allowed the agriculture education students of California to grow exponentially.

George was instrumental in making the dream of the California FFA Center a reality.  We also owe the benefits of the Cal Ag License plate to the forward-thinking work of Mr. Gomes.

George served as a constant ally and proponent of agricultural education through many political battles during his two tenures as Undersecretary of the CDFA.  His passion and support never wavered and is greatly appreciated. 


Jack Havens 
Gonzales High School 1978-2000, Southern Region Supervisor 200-2018

CATA Outstanding Young Member 1984 
Honorary American Degree 1987
Teacher of Excellence 1991 
Honorary State FFA Degree 2005
CA FFA Distinguished Service Citation 2011
National FFA VIP 2018

Jack's contributions to agricultural education in California are deeply rooted in the totality of a Supervised Agricultural Experience program. His dedication to helping teachers and students transition through the different iterations of the record book, shows a fortitude that few exhibit. 

Jack's expertise in SAEs made him the State lead for proficiency award applications, working with advisors and students to showcase the very best SAE projects California had to offer and bringing California FFA increased recognition.  

As a Regional Supervisor, Jack recognized the importance of leadership matching membership. He consistently had a diverse group of regional leaders in the FFA and CATA. 


Max Jones

D&L Automotive Mechanic; Shop Foreman 
Holt of California Caterpillar Recruiter for the Think Big Program

For many years, Max Jones has been a great friend to the Ag Mechanics, Farm Power, and Small Engines contests. He was very well respected by contestants and coaches alike. He always provided hats as prizes for the winning teams and individuals, and he persuaded his company, Holt of California, to donate large toolboxes and jackets to the winners of these contests at state finals.

Max secured sponsorship funding for engines used in the Small Engines contest including trailers and parts to "bug" the engines.  In his efforts to grow the Think Big program Max visited countless classrooms and brought the real world to thousands of students, opening their eyes to the possibilities in heavy equipment.

Max was a conduit to industry for many students across the state through the Think Big program.  But Max also worked with local programs and the state agricultural advisory committee to ensure funding and relevant curriculum was being delivered.

Max was always present with a smile and a hearty handshake providing support and guidance for hundreds of teachers and thousands of students during his work with Holt of California. 


Mike Rourke
Healdsburg High School 1978-1981, Yreka High School 1981-1984, Trinity High School 1984-2018, Shasta College 1990-2013, Chico State University 2017-2022

Teacher of Excellence 1992

Mike Rourke was a teacher by choice, knowing the trials and tribulations of agriculture education as he followed the footsteps of his father into the classroom.  Mike developed a reputation for patience, honesty, hard work and student focus.  During his tenure he developed a single person department into a two and a half teacher program with curriculum that was relevant to his local community.  A testament to his mentorship is the respect for which the community continues to hold for Mr. Rourke.

Statewide Mike was known for his work in the development of Forestry and Natural Resource curriculum as well as developing and coordinating the Natural Resources/Forestry contest.  His service continues as Mike supervises student teachers from Chico State University.

Mike has never veered from his agricultural roots as he manages a 5th generation hay and cattle ranch and has passed his passion for agriculture education on to his two agriculture teacher children. 


Kerry Stockton

Executive Assistant, California Agricultural Teachers' Association (1993 - present)
Coordinator, State FFA Scrapbook Contest
Coordinator, State FFA Store State FFA Leadership Conference
Associate Editor Golden Slate
Coordinator CATA Summer Conference

Honorary California State FFA Degree 
Honorary American FFA Degree

For nearly 30 years Kerry has served as the heart and soul of the CATA.  Kerry has worked tirelessly to ensure that the teachers in our state were informed, registered and ready for all the activities hosted by not only the CATA but all of agricultural education.

Kerry greeted every member with a smile and heartfelt how are you at every event or phone call.  Kerry assisted the state CATA leadership to conduct business in an efficient and meaningful way.  She created and maintained relationships at all levels of our state and association working lockstep with the executive director, the California FFA, California FFA Foundation and the California FFA Adult Board.

The many hats worn during her tenure have assisted in the development and coordination of events, in-service and professional development for thousands of teachers statewide, and an exponential number of students.  But none of these more important than that of mom and grandmother. 


Frank Tebeau 
Washington Union High School 1976-1979, Mt. Whitney High School, 1979-1997, College of the Sequoias, 1997-2019

Teacher of Excellence 2001 
Honorary California State FFA Degree 1986
Honorary American FFA Degree 1987
California FFA Star State Advisor 1986

Frank Tebeau is a pillar in the agriculture community of Tulare County. He was a proud FFA Member of Mt. Whitney FFA earning his American Degree in 1973, thus creating his passion for agricultural education.

He later went on to become an Agriculture Teacher serving students at Washington Union High School, Mt. Whitney High School and College of the Sequoias.  Throughout his tenure, Frank was student focused and ensured success for his students and programs.

His mentorship and guidance has been invaluable, as many of his former students serve in agriculture education today.  His reach stretched as he served as the state advisor for the Collegiate Ag. Leaders providing opportunities for post-secondary leadership development.

Frank is a loving husband to his wife Delores, a proud father and grandfather to his daughter Sarah, and granddaughters Alice and Jane.