Piancone turning professional focus to teaching
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, N.J — Julie Piancone, who graduated from the Career Center in 2017 and is a 2021 graduate of Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pa., has returned to Monmouth County Vocational and Technical High School this fall to for a student teaching experience.
Piancone, raised in the Asbury Park area and Freehold, majored in agricultural education at DVU.
“I specialized in horticulture and floral techniques,” Piancone said from outside the FFA tent at the Monmouth County Fair in late July, admitting it wasn’t until she was in high school that she became interested in agriculture.
“I did an exploratory program my freshman year at Monmouth County Career Center where I was only in the class for a couple of weeks, but I just fell in love with it,” she said. “I love doing floral design and working with plants and ever since then, I saw myself doing that as a career. I’ve also always had a passion for teaching others and helping other people, so I’ve been able to combine my two passions teaching and my love floral design and horticulture,”
“Now, I’m doing the best career I can possibly think of,” she added, “and I am so happy.”
Piancone said she learned to apply her vocational skills with flowers by working at several different floral operations through high school and college.
“All through high school I worked in a couple of different flower shops in flower operations and then in college I worked in special education. I was in a lot of academic clubs for plant science and horticulture.”
Her student teaching coming up this fall is the last component piece for her to achieve her teaching certification.
“I have very close family friends who own a couple of floral shops around New Jersey and I go and help them on weekends and for big events.”
“I’m going back home to where I went to high school for student teaching and hopefully I’ll get a teaching job shortly after that,” she said, “if not, I can do substitute teaching, whatever pays the bills.
“Substituting in Monmouth County is a good deal.”
Piancone acknowledged smaller farming operations seem to be disappearing from the central New Jersey landscape to make way for retail shopping, housing, warehouses and other uses for the land, even in counties like Monmouth and Middlesex with a strong pro-agriculture base.
“It’s a sad thing to see,” she said, “so I think it’s very important to teach the new generation on how to grow their own food, teach them to support these mom-and-pop farm stands and explore their own dreams to have a farm of their own one day.
“Farming has a stigma attached to it, and one of the things I want to implement in my classrooms is using sustainable agricultural practices: keeping the water clean, the soil clean to make it last forever.”
By stigma, Piancone said she means people think of an old man, “Farmer Joe, out there doing potato farming, when the reality is there are many different types of farming: hydroponics and aquaponics there’s complete greenhouse farms there are mushroom farms, it’s a broad spectrum of things,” she said.
“I want to teach the kids to be good stewards of the land.”