Ashley Brown and FFA Students

Educators devote limitless time, and often their own resources, to helping students pursue their passions. To recognize the contributions of Missouri’s leading agricultural teachers, Nationwide® and the Missouri FFA Foundation have partnered on a new to Missouri initiative, the Golden Owl Award®. In its inaugural year, students, parents, fellow teachers, and other supporters submitted almost 400 nominations for Missouri teachers! From those nominations, 18 teachers representing FFA’s areas and our post-secondary/adult education programs were selected as semi-finalists and moved on to the second round of competition.

During the second round of competition, seven finalists from across the state were chosen. Each was surprised at their schools and presented with a $500 cash prize. Ashley Brown, an Ag education instructor at Bolivar High School, is one of the finalists for this prestigious program. Brown earned this recognition because of her outstanding dedication to students, commitment to agriculture education, and positive impact on both the community and the agriculture industry.

On Thursday, April 18, at the Missouri FFA State Convention, Brown, along with the six other finalists, will be recognized for their hard work. One teacher will be named the Missouri Agriculture Educator of the Year, receiving a $3,000 cash prize and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy.

 “While reading the nominations that came in for the Golden Owl Award, one thing became apparent: Missouri is extremely fortunate to have passionate agricultural education teachers. Our selection committees all had the same monumental task, narrowing down all those nominations to 18 semi-finalists and then 7 finalists,” said Heather Dimitt-Fletcher, executive director of the Missouri FFA Foundation. “The Missouri FFA Foundation is committed to enhancing and strengthening agriculture education in our state. Programs such as the Golden Owl Award that honor our teachers are crucial to achieve that goal.”

Nationwide established the Golden Owl Award to recognize the contributions of agriculture teachers and thank them for their continued educational efforts. “We are proud to thank and honor these hardworking agricultural teachers for their dedication,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide.

About Missouri FFA Foundation

The Missouri FFA Foundation secures strategic partnerships and financial resources to enhance, strengthen, and support the educational and leadership opportunities that promote premier leadership, personal growth, and career success for Missourians in Agricultural Education. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, the foundation is governed by a board of directors.

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities, mutual funds and ETFs; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter