Agricultural educators play a crucial role in their communities, dedicating countless hours and often their own resources to preparing students for successful careers and helping them follow their interests. To shed light on the contributions of Ohio’s leading agricultural teachers, the Ohio FFA, Nationwide, Ohio Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Mid-America and AgCredit are honoring 10 exceptional teachers as finalists for the Golden Owl Award.
From Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022, the Golden Owl Award accumulated more than 500 nominations for the state’s top agricultural teachers from local students, parents, fellow teachers and community members across the state.
Ohio’s 2022-2023 Golden Owl Award finalists are:
- Krysteena Lawrence, Elmwood High School
- Jeffrey Karcher, Bellevue High School
- Heather Tegtmeier, Northwestern High School
- Donald Barnhart, Leipsic High School
- Erynn Hayes, Trotwood-Madison High School
- Jeffrey Stimmell, Big Walnut High School
- Judd Baker, Fairfield Union High School
- Kayla Richter, Monroe Central High School
- Kelly Rickabaugh, Greene County Career Center
- Katherine Dickson, Gallia Academy High School
Each finalist was presented with an individualized plaque in front of fellow teachers and students and received a $500 donation to their school’s agricultural program to support future educational efforts. Next, they’ll be entered into a final selection stage for the chance to be crowned as Ohio’s Ag Educator of the Year, earning an additional $3,000 Nationwide-funded donation to their school’s agriculture program and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy.
“Ohio is home to many outstanding ag teachers. We are glad to highlight and recognize these 10 honorees for their ongoing commitment to student success,” said Jessica Parrish, executive director of the Ohio FFA Foundation. “This award brings together statewide partners and the local school community to honor agricultural educators for being a foundational component of the FFA experience for students.”
Nationwide established the Golden Owl Award to honor the contributions of teachers and support their programs with additional resources to assist their continued educational efforts. This year, the award program honors outstanding ag educators in nine states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
“The Golden Owl Award seeks to thank agricultural teachers for the extraordinary care they bring to their work as they go above and beyond in educating America’s youth and future leaders,” said Nationwide’s agribusiness president, Brad Liggett. “We are proud to honor their contributions, highlight the growing need for their services, and supply additional resources to help benefit their programs and students.”
In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is also donating $5,000 to the Ohio FFA to further support the personal and professional growth of students, teachers and advisors alike.