Agriculture Lab

Imagine a classroom where students are gathered around projects. The room is buzzing with excitement as students are working collaboratively designing plans for the school garden, building model trucks to learn about force and motion, debating the safety of GMO foods, and using their critical thinking skills to imagine the future of technology in agriculture.

In the Ag Lab at Madera TEC students will be learning in an environment just like this. They will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on, project-based learning while fulfilling their requirements for science, English, and agriculture. Our lab will work with professionals in the local agriculture industry so that students can produce projects with authentic, real-world applications that positively contribute to the Madera community. Students will get a taste of the wide variety of career opportunities in the agriculture industry. They will learn about aspects of animal science like caring for animals and raising livestock, including the opportunity for experience with live animals. Students will learn about plant science by helping design and care for a school garden. They will be working with the latest innovative technology, such as virtual welders and industry level equipment to experience the field of Ag mechanics. Through the National FFA Organization, students will also have the chance to participate in leadership which provides opportunities to develop skills in speaking and presenting that are relevant in the agriculture industry.

Our Teaching Team
Sigifredo Contreras
Agriculture Lab

Agriculture Teacher

Mr. Contreras spent a small portion of his childhood in Mexico before coming to the US in the early 2000s. Growing up he often accompanied his mom to work in the fields which were his first interaction with agriculture. In high school, he was a part of the Kerman FFA Chapter and was so highly involved that he went as far as to earn his American FFA Degree. It was his time working in the fields and the FFA organization that sparked his interest in one day becoming an agriculture teacher. Mr. Contreras earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Education and his teaching credentials through CSU, Fresno.

When not at work, Mr. Contreras enjoys going on walks with his husband and his three dogs, or long bike rides around his neighborhood. His hobbies include traveling to new destinations, practicing new skills, and the occasional Disneyland trip. He is passionate about inclusion and making sure that everyone feels like they belong. He is dedicated to providing all students with an engaging agricultural experience in his classroom.

Nicole Knod
Agriculture Lab

English Teacher

Nicole grew up in both Fresno and Clovis California. She participated in the honors program at Fresno City College before finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Journalism at Fresno State University. Nicole worked as the general sales manager at The Collegian at Fresno State and as the marketing and PR coordinator at Orloff Jewelers before deciding that her passion was in education. She returned to Fresno State to complete the teaching credential program in 2017. Nicole has had experience teaching briefly in Clovis and Fresno. She is excited for the opportunity to work with students in Madera. In her free time she enjoys gardening and reading. She also enjoys frequenting local restaurants and stores in her community. If Nicole could give you one piece of advice it would be to persevere, even when you feel hopeless and lost. 

Linda Tolladay
Agriculture Lab

Science Teacher

2020 marks Linda’s 37th year in education. Born in Madera, she has taught science both in the US and in four countries overseas.  She is thrilled to be teaching in the Agriculture Lab at Madera TEC pursuing a life dream to be involved in the creation of an innovative, student-focused school. She believes MadTEC and the Ag Lab are places where students can find relevancy and connection through learning by doing.  Linda is married; she and her husband have 4 adult children in their blended family. Her overseas experiences created a life-long love of travel, so whenever Linda can, she is out camping and hiking, enjoying science in the real world. 

Simon Sinek says, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress.  Working hard for something we love is called passion.”  Linda hopes to help the students of MadTEC find ways to work hard for things they love.

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