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Jim Bloomstrand


Agriculture has been Mr. Bloomstrand’s life long focus; from growing up on a grain and livestock farm in East Central Illinois to receiving an Agriculture Engineering Degree from the University of Illinois.  He has been presenting the Ag in the Classroom Program since 2002 to 4th graders in Cook County. He has also begun presenting our Ag Science and Careers Program to middle school students.  

Toni DeLaurentis


As a young child Toni lived on the island of Malta where her grandfather worked on a dairy farm.  Her family eventually settled in Lansing, IL where Toni went into teaching fourth grade for 25 years.  As a teacher she became familiar with AITC, and invited them back to her fourth grade class every year.  Being so impressed with the program that upon retiring she decided she would like to be part of it. She has been a presenter since 2009 and loves being with the children and teaching them the impact agriculture has in their daily lives. 

Linda Dunn


Mrs. Dunn has been a presenter with Ag in the Classroom since 2007.  The highlight of this job for her is being able to reach out to children who know little or nothing about agriculture and watch them absorb the information she presents. They quickly realize how agriculture is all around them everywhere, every day!  Mrs. Dunn travels extensively and has been to Israel, Egypt, and all over Europe. She also volunteers to teach people English with the Sisters of St. Joseph Literacy on Wheels Program.

Valerie Jones

For more than 20 years, Ms. Jones worked with teachers, parents and students as an educator in and out of the classroom. She taught them about healthy living and proper nutrition. It gives Ms. Jones great pleasure to expand such education about agriculture and share how it impacts daily life to fourth graders through the Ag Program.

Sarah Koukol


Mrs. Koukol is a certified teacher with 13 years of classroom teaching, most in fourth grade. During those years she taught about agriculture in her classroom and took workshops on agriculture from Ag in the Classroom. She was the Illinois Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year for 2013. Mrs. Koukol enjoys teaching children about agriculture so they understand how important it is to their everyday life. 

Kathy Lesser


Mrs. Lesser was born in Chicago but has always had a love for farming.While in college she worked for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and after college became a Kindergarten teacher in Chicago. Agriculture was always part of her lesson plans, from hatching chicks to planting in the spring and everything in between. Every year at graduation the students would talk about what they learned about farming in Kindergarten.

She has attended several National  Ag Conferences and has presented at them also. In 2004 she was AITC teacher of the year from Illinois. In 2012 she started working with Cook County Farm Bureau teaching the 4th Grade Field Trip and enjoys sharing Illinois Agriculture with so many classes.

Linda Schaeffer


Mrs. Schaeffer is a certified teacher who has been attending Ag in the Classroom workshops for years. She has taught 1st grade and preschool for 18 years and became interested in teaching children where the food they eat comes from after a preschool child told her that "chocolate milk comes from brown cows." Mrs. Schaeffer enjoys travel and has walked outside on the Toronto CSN Tower, 1815 feet in the air!

Amy Toth

Amy Toth began with Ag in the Classroom in 2015. She is a certified teacher who has taught both second and fourth grade. She loves to visit fourth grade classrooms to give her presentations. Amy has a special interest in soybean farming because her family has had a working soybean farm for over 100 years.