Susan Sherer, COO of educationprojects.org (left) and Tom Fontana, Director of Research and Education at the Ohio Soybean Council (right) present the Teacher Leader of the Year award to Shelby Guthrie of Springfield’s Global Impact STEM Academy.

Springfield educator honored as GrowNextGen Teacher Leader of the Year

Shelby Guthrie knows how to make agricultural education meaningful for her students and she’s passionate about spreading innovation to other science teachers. The Global Impact STEM Academy educator has won The GrowNextGen Teacher Leader of the Year for 2022-2023. This honor reflects her enthusiastic outreach and involvement with the GrowNextGen program. “Shelby is a dynamic, zealous ambassador for agricultural science in the classroom,” said Jane Hunt, Director of Education.

The Ohio Soybean Council-supported GrowNextGen program helps teachers bring science and agriculture to life in their classroom by providing real-world educational experiences and curriculum. The Teacher Leader of the Year program highlights a standout Ohio educator who has completed the leadership program, actively supports other teachers in the state, and is a leading contributor to curriculum projects.

“Agricultural education involves more than just teaching students the basics of seed production or how to judge livestock,” Guthrie said. “It provides the opportunity for people to understand that agriculture is not just farming; it’s a sustainable way of life. Sustainability is a key component to apply in everyday life and experience rewarding outcomes.”

Guthrie, a Food Science and Ag Education teacher, has presented local workshops and at the Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators conference. Through the GrowNextGen program she has traveled to Commodity Classic in New Orleans, engaging with ag industry leaders and with teachers nationally to develop connections and bring back innovative ideas to use with her students and spread to other teachers.

“Shelby does a great job sharing about the importance of modern agriculture to education because she uses the resources herself,” Hunt said. “Her students get to experience the lessons, attend virtual field trips, and present hands-on activities at community events. She is always willing to try new things and give feedback about what works to bring agricultural science to more classrooms.”

Guthrie will be honored at the Ohio Soybean Council Industry Dinner this November.

GrowNextGen brings agriculture science to the classroom by providing real-world educational tools to engage the next generation workforce. Backed by funding from the Ohio Soybean Council and Ohio soybean farmers, GrowNextGen helps expose students to different career fields in a thriving industry. Resources include teacher workshops, curriculum, e-learning courses, and virtual field trips. To learn more go to www.grownextgen.org.

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