Glenn F. Wade, Jr.
He has described himself as a “Sumter County cracker boy,” but Glenn Wade’s achievements have taken him a long way from his modest beginnings. In addition to being an influential teacher, advisor, and administrator, Glenn was instrumental in building an innovative facility that created high quality educational opportunities for the citizens of Citrus County. Glenn F. Wade, Jr. was born in his childhood home outside of Bushnell, Florida on October 22, 1933. He was in the Bushnell High School graduating class of 1951 and enrolled at the University of Florida to further his education. He earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education in 1956 and accepted a job as vocational agriculture teacher at Bushnell High School. After two years there, he moved to Haines City High School, where he continued his work as an agriculture teacher. Glenn worked on his master’s degree after school and on weekends, receiving that degree in 1967. Two years later Glenn moved from teaching to administration, as he became Polk County Supervisor of Vocational Agriculture. In this role he worked with the Florida Citrus Commission to develop the Citrus Fundraising Project that continues to raise millions for FFA chapters. His leadership and ability to develop a vision of the future attracted the attention of the Citrus County School Superintendent, who hired Glenn as Director of Vocational, Adult, and Community Education in 1971.
One of his greatest achievements as vocational education director was his work in planning and obtaining funding for the Lecanto Joint-Use Facility. This innovative concept allowed students to stay on the same campus from elementary through high school and then earn the A.A. degree from Central Florida Community College. In 1986 Glenn retired to his cattle ranch after 30 years in the educational system, but his service to his community did not end. He served on the Board of Trustees for Lake-Sumter Community College and was instrumental in obtaining land for a satellite campus in Sumterville. Because of his leadership in this effort, the board voted to name the campus after him in 1999. He is also a founding member of Hospice of Lake-Sumter County, and along with his business partners, donated land for a Hospice house in Sumter County.
Glenn has served in many other leadership positions during his career. He was a director of the Florida Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association and President of the Polk County Agriculture Teachers Association. He has been president of the Sumter County Cattlemen’s Association, and he was one a charter member and the first chair of the Board of Directors of the Florida FFA Foundation. He was instrumental in getting 123 acres donated as a site for the FFA Leadership Training Center after he saw a similar facility in Kentucky. Glenn has received many honors for his accomplishments, including the FFA Honorary State Farmer Degree and the Honorary American Farmer Degree. He won Outstanding Service Awards from the Citrus, Lecanto, and Crystal River FFA chapters, as well as the Florida FFA Foundation. In 2001 Glenn was honored with the Blue and Gold Award for dedicated service to Florida FFA. Glenn is an honorary member of twelve local FFA chapters. Glenn and his wife Patricia have been married for 50 years, and he has devoted his life to education and the improvement of his community.
Glenn Wade was inducted into the Florida FFA Hall of Fame September 13, 2008.