Chuck Wilson – Ag Teacher, FFA Coordinator & Coach
Chuck Wilson is Dell City ISD’s new Ag science teacher and FFA coordinator. He’s also an assistant coach. In a community built on agriculture, and a school with a proud FFA history, Wilson brings years of experience, and he hopes he can share his passion for teaching and coaching with Dell City students for years to come.
Ag courses are unique from other classes – they’re an opportunity for students to receive practical career training. Wilson said he and school administrators know that college isn’t necessarily the right destination for all students. Some Dell City students are already planning for farming jobs, or work in the oil field. Wilson said that it’s his responsibility to equip young people to flourish in those positions.
“We need to let kids know that education is not necessarily college,” he said. “Education is getting a skill that allows you to do what you want to do. If that means going to college and becoming an engineer or a teacher, great – but don’t think you have to.”
Ag is also distinct from other subjects in the flexibility it gives teachers. Wilson said he’s tailoring his courses to the Dell Valley community, so that students can come out of his classes with the skills to succeed in the local economy. Dell City students that go into farming or ranching should not only be able to do the demanding work it requires, he said, but “to understand what they’re doing, and why.” Ultimately, Wilson said, that benefits both young people, and local employers.
“If we’re not producing students knowledgeable in those fields when they come out of high school and go to work, then we’re letting the community that supports us down,” Wilson said. “Down the road, skill and experience equals a little bit bigger paycheck, and the smarter the employee, the better off the business is going to be.”
Lucrative oil field work is a draw for Dell City students. Wilson said that, in the future, the school’s Ag program may offer students industry-recognized certifications. It would “be another way we can give our kids that leg up,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s youngest Ag students – sixth and seventh graders – take “Career Portals.” It’s a new course for Wilson. Students are learning about more than 40 different careers. Professionals – both from within and outside the Dell Valley community – will visit the classroom and tell students about the work they do. It’s a chance for students to think about their own future in the work world.
Eighth-grade students take “Principles of Ag.” Veterinary medicine and livestock production are available to freshmen and sophomores. Dell Valley youth often say they’d like to work with animals, and the vet med class helps students connect that impulse to a career path. Wilson said students may not be able to go home and do surgery after the vet med course, but they will develop skills to treat and care for animals. Eventually, Wilson said, the school may make it possible for high school students to become certified veterinary technicians.
This year’s junior and seniors are taking shop class. But Wilson and his students “talk about fabrication in all our classes,” he said, “and everybody gets a little bit of shop time.”
As FFA coordinator, Wilson wants to give students opportunities for leadership and initiative. He said Dell City FFA has a history of excellence, both in stock shows and in regional FFA competitions. He wants to reclaim that tradition.
“We will do projects, we will do contests, we will stock show,” he said. “These county stock show, it’s just like a football game – it’s about community pride.”
At the heart of FFA is developing students’ “self-starting ability,” Wilson said.
“The stock shows especially foster that in our kids,” he said, “because it gives our kids that sense of responsibility, of motivation, ownership and pride. It’s something they have their hands on, and when they get to place, when they go to sale, they have the reward system as well. They’ve earned it.”
For FFA to succeed, family and community support are essential, Wilson said. Whereas 4-H is parent-led, the FFA coordinator is often a “one-man army.” Wilson said that, whether families and community members donate financially or in the form of time or supplies, “we just want them to support.”
“I rely on parents to give me that support,” Wilson said. “Kids get more motivated to participate and to do well if they see the community supporting them.”
Wilson loves coaching. He’s working with DCISD Athletics Director Joe Czubinski, and fellow Assistant Coach Trever Czubinski, in the Cougar football program, and Wilson said he “clicked with the Czubinski family right away.” In fact, he said, that connection applies to all his colleagues at the Dell City School.
“We all kind of clicked,” Wilson said. “We’re all pretty close-knit.”
Raised in Plains, Texas, 70 miles southwest of Lubbock, Wilson has agriculture as a family tradition. His grandfather was a rancher, and he’s “been around animals all [his] life.”
After high school, Wilson took a crack at college, and then enlisted in the Marines. The military was a good fit. Wilson “enjoyed the military way of life,” he said, and planned to make a career of it. But after an injury, he was compelled to leave the Marines.
Back in West Texas, Wilson began to “chase the oil field dollar.” He spent 15 years in the oil-and-gas industry. He worked across West Texas and New Mexico, doing “everything from roustabout to drilling to equipment operator.” But oil-field work was always “just a job,” he said. Wilson and his wife Catrina have four children. The oil field kept Wilson away from home for two to three weeks at a time. It was finally the separation from his family that led Wilson to leave the oil field.
“I was running all over everywhere,” he said. “I pride myself on being a dad, and I was missing Christmases, missing birthdays, missing school pageants.”
Wilson had volunteered as a coach for his daughters’ T-ball teams, and he’d found the experience to be deeply rewarding. He began to think about a career as a coach and teacher.
“I started noticing that I got a feeling of pride,” he said of coaching T-ball, “not with my own kids, but seeing the light bulb go off with these other kids that you’ve worked so hard with. I knew I wanted to be a coach.”
Wilson thought about his own agricultural background, and remembered his high school Ag teacher, who’d impacted his life and the lives of so many of others. He enrolled at Texas Tech University in 2007, and, with Catrina working to support the family, Wilson completed his degree, and became an Ag teacher.
Wilson said that in teaching and coaching, he finds a fulfillment that he never knew in the oil field.
Then, he said, “if they gave me 10 days for sick days, I used them. In the last five years, I’ve used one sick day.”
“There’s something about walking in and seeing these kids,” Wilson said. “I thoroughly enjoy every minute of it. It’s not just education – these students become our kids. It’s about seeing each one of them evolve as a person.”
Since 2011, Wilson has taught and coached at several schools, including in Brownwood and in May, Texas. But he made a special connection in 2014-2015, when we taught at the Sierra Blanca School. Wilson is a “small-school guy,” he said, and the people and culture of Hudspeth County felt familiar and natural. It’s clear now that “the borderlands are home,” he said.
So when the Dell City opportunity arose this summer, he leapt at it.
Wilson’s oldest son is working at the Hudspeth County jail, and his three younger children are students in Sierra Blanca. He and Catrina, who also works at the Dell City School, have their home in Sierra Blanca, but Wilson maintains an apartment in Dell City. He said he wants Dell Valley parents and community members to know that he is “100-percent dedicated to our students, to their kids.”
And he said wants to dig in at Dell City ISD.
“My wife has informed me she’s not moving again – and I don’t want to either,” Wilson said. “This is my last stop.”