Home News Ag Economics Six California Ag Teachers Named Finalists for Golden Owl Award®

Six California Ag Teachers Named Finalists for Golden Owl Award®

Educators devote countless time, and often their own resources, to helping students pursue their passions. To recognize the contributions of California’s leading agricultural teachers, the California FFA Foundation, in partnership with Nationwide and the California Farm Bureau, is honoring six exceptional teachers as finalists for the Golden Owl Award.

From September 1 through January 16, nominations were collected for top agricultural teachers from local students, parents, fellow teachers and community members across California.

Highlighting the profound influence of the FFA, California Farm Bureau President and FFA alumna Shannon Douglass emphasized the significant impact it has on shaping leaders in agriculture. “Farm Bureau sees first hand the tremendous impact that FFA makes, as many of our current leaders across agriculture have roots in FFA,” reflected Douglass. “We are so appreciative of the hard-working ag teachers who provide a great foundation for FFA members that in turn benefits all of agriculture.”

California’s 2023-2024 Golden Owl Award finalists are:

  • Daniel Crookham, Exeter FFA
  • Rebecca Freeman, Lodi-Tokay FFA
  • Randy Mendes, St. Helena FFA
  • Deanna Morton, Shandon FFA
  • Rick Neugebauer, McArthur-Fall River FFA
  • Marlisa Nordstrom, Buena Park FFA

Each finalist will be presented with an individualized plaque and a $500 check in front of fellow teachers, students, and supporters at the 2024 State FFA Leadership Conference, March 21-24 in Sacramento. All finalists will be considered for California’s Ag Educator of the Year Award, earning an additional $3,000 and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy. The winner will be announced on stage at the conference.

“California FFA is thrilled to collaborate with Nationwide and the California Farm Bureau in honoring exceptional agricultural educators and FFA Advisors,” stated Charles Parker, State FFA Advisor. “The six state finalists showcase extraordinary commitment to equipping students with foundational skills, leadership qualities, and essential knowledge for the future. These educators extend beyond traditional classroom instruction, ensuring students are thoroughly prepared for success.”

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 eleven states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.

“As the need grows for more ag educators across the nation, we are proud to thank and honor these hardworking agricultural teachers for their dedication,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide. “These educators play a crucial role in preparing students for successful careers in the industry.”

In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is contributing $5,000 to the California FFA Foundation, enhancing support for the personal and professional development of both students and advisors.

About the California FFA Foundation
California FFA Foundation serves more than 103,000 California students and strives to make a difference in their lives by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through educational education. To learn more about the California FFA, visit calaged.org.

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 www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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