◆ Thousands of hours outside the classroom have defined his legacy of dedication to student success.
Dallas Warren has filled the role of Agriculture Education Teacher at Star Valley High School since 1988, which makes for 33 years of serving students in the agriculture program at SVHS. With those 33 years behind him, Dallas will retire at the end of this school year.
Raised locally in a family of 11 children, Dallas spent parts of his youth at both ends of Star Valley. In his early years, his family ran a dairy in Etna where they had around 80 acres of ground. They kept a small herd of Guernsey cows, a band of Suffolk Sheep and chickens of all breeds.
Dallas learned the value of hard work and acquired a love for agriculture. “We always had chores to do and milked the cows by hand. I was pretty small then, but I remember that I didn’t care much for shearing the sheep and tromping wool. We flood irrigated. I swear that those old timers could make water flow up hill.” He remembers the neighborly ways of the culture he was raised in and how everyone willingly stepped in to help when a neighbor was in need.
While Dallas was still in grade school, his father sold the ranch in Etna, moved his family to Afton, and took a position with Lower Valley Power & Light. “My brothers and I spent a lot of time in the mountains east of Afton, especially up Swift Creek Canyon. We would hike a lot, going to the Star hill, the two reservoirs or the periodic springs. It was always an adventure.”
When Dallas was 12, his father moved the family back north to Freedom, purchasing the family homestead of 130 acres that his great grandfather had settled, which tripled the family workload, but Dallas enjoyed working with his father and siblings.
Dallas made the Varsity wrestling team as a Freshman at SVHS, but his father always reminded him to keep his feet on the ground and his head in hard work. Wrestling became just as central to his youth as agriculture had been as he wrestled all through high school, then two years at Ricks College while acquiring a degree in Beef Production Management.
After graduating from Rick’s, Dallas worked as a ranch hand in Cokeville and began serving at CHS as an assistant wrestling coach. “While coaching, I found that I really enjoyed working with the kids and developed a good relationship with them. I was asked several times during the two seasons I coached if I had ever considered teaching school as a career. My answer was always a resounding ‘no.’ I’d just never thought of myself as a teacher, and besides that, ranching had always been my passion and where my career was headed.”
The idea of becoming a teacher, however, grew on Dallas, and in 1985, he decided to attend Utah State University to pursue a degree in Agriculture Education. Most of the credits he had earned at Rick’s transferred to USU, allowing him to finish his program in only two years.
Dallas completed his degree at USU in 1988 and immediately interviewed for the freshly vacant Agriculture teaching position at SVHS. “When the superintendent called and offered me the job at Star Valley High School I could not say ‘yes’ fast enough.”
As the Agriculture Education Teacher at SVHS, Dallas has taught welding and agriculture classes, and has served as the FFA Advisor. With those responsibilities, he has dedicated thousands of hours outside the classroom to supporting students in raising, fitting and showing animals or plants, participating in competitions, and traveling to leadership events. In addition to coaching FFA, he also has coached wrestling at SVHS and SVMS for 14 years.
“I’ve seen many young Freshman students come into the FFA who are really not confident in their own abilities and a little intimidated by the upperclassmen, overcome their fears and excel,” Dallas told SVI, relating the story of a student who initially was uncertain about whether she wanted to be part of the FFA program. Once she decided to become involved, she ended up serving as a chapter and state officer and becoming an Agriculture Teacher in her career.”
He also told of another young man that he had disciplined in class for misconduct, but that student knew that Dallas genuinely cared about him. The respect they shared for each other grew from that day, and the student admitted at graduation that the day Dallas disciplined him ended up being the “best thing that ever happened to him.”
“I would like to see that all students feel safe and secure in an educational setting and that they are excited to learn,” said Dallas of the future of education. “I hope that students will take more responsibility in their own learning and be accountable. I hope that grading can be more equitable across the diverse population of our students. I would like to see the Agriculture courses continue at Star Valley High School and developed into sequential pathways along with the FFA as an intra-curricular part of those pathways and perhaps become a two-teacher program.”
Dallas and his wife, Tammy, have nine children. Kidd, their youngest son, belongs to both of them, while eight of those children are from previous marriages. Tammy is a medical professional and Dallas has built a farrier business shoeing horses when he’s not in the classroom. The couple now enjoy 23 grandchildren and look forward to spending more time with them.
“I hope to continue to shoe horses as long as I can and take up a few hobbies like black smithing and definitely more hunting and fishing,” said Dallas. “I hope that I can continue to ride my horses to a ripe old age. My wife reminds me that she has been with me the past twenty years in school activities and that the next twenty years are hers, so I suppose that there will be a Honey Do list in the future as well. Realistically, I would like to share more time with my wife and share in her interests and talents.”
Dallas will cherish his memories of teaching, advising, and coaching his students over the last 33 years.
“I have had a fantastic career. I am going to miss my students and my peers. Star Valley High School has a tremendous group of teachers, administrators, and support staff who really care about the students, which makes all the difference in the world. Good luck to you all, and Go, Star Valley Braves! Be bold, be brave and be kind!!”