Lives of Legacy: Rodney Wiedower

Rodney Wiedower has been an Agriculture (Ag) Teacher and Future Farmers of America advisor for 36 years. He has been on staff with the Greenbrier School District for 16 years and is as passionate about his work as ever. He loves seeing students challenge themselves and develop new skills and confidence to help them succeed.

Unlike a typical classroom teacher, Rodney is on a 12-month contract and does a lot of work with students after school. More than 400 students are part of the Ag program, and Rodney teaches 110 of them. The program includes welding, residential electrical wiring and several other shop classes, animal science, business agriculture, leadership and communications classes.

He credits two men for his success in life. After losing his parents in his late teens, Rodney’s older brother, Ricky Wiedower, took him under his wing and taught him to be a good man, to say what he means and to be a man of his word. He also admires Patrick Breeding, his Ag teacher at Guy-Perkins High School.

“Patrick got me started in this field, and it was fun!” Rodney said. “I enjoyed it as a student, and when I began teaching, he was always helping me learn things. I was fortunate that when I came to work at Greenbrier, I got to teach with him for 10 years until he retired. We still see one another.”

What are some important goals you have achieved? 

My goals in life were to be good at what I do and to positively influence as many as I could and have a good family. Personally, I’ve got a great family, including a son and a daughter, three grandchildren and a great wife, Jennifer, of 37 years. Professionally, most of the goals I’ve set I’ve achieved. Eight former students are Ag teachers, and one is studying to be a geneticist. Another student I’ll never forget had a rough background and came to live with his grandparents and became my student. I was able to give him direction and guidance, and he ended up joining the Navy and became an officer and jet mechanic.

How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader? 

I’ve been on the boards of the Arkansas Vocational Ag Teachers Association and the National Association of Agriculture Educators. I want to continue to be there to influence it in the future. My son has eight years in as an Ag teacher, and I want to be there for him and others.

When people think of you, what do you hope they think of as your legacy?

 Someone who cared and made them get out of their comfort zone and pushed and challenged them to be successful.