Governor, Director Lebo kick off ‘Golden Owl Award’ honoring ag educators
DES MOINES – The Iowa State Fairgrounds were the perfect backdrop today as Gov. Kim Reynolds, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney and Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo officially kicked off the nominating period for Iowa’s agriculture educator of the year.
The award, called the Golden Owl Award, is sponsored by the Iowa FFA Foundation, Nationwide Insurance and other partners in agriculture. Students, fellow teachers and other supporters are encouraged to submit nominations for outstanding agriculture teachers in their area.
“Since Iowa is an agriculture-focused state, agriculture education is important,” said Matthew Eddy, Iowa FFA state advisor at the Iowa Department of Education. “It is important to recognize those teachers who are doing a great job and to draw in new educators into the field.”
From the submitted nominations, seven finalists will be selected. Each of those seven educators will receive a $500 award and an engraved plaque and will be put into the running for the grand prize of $3,000 and the coveted Golden Owl trophy for the 2021-22 year. The winner of this year’s Golden Owl Award will be announced at the 2022 Iowa FFA Convention in April.
Past recent winners include the 2020-21 awardee Michael Retallick of Iowa State University, 2019-20 awardee Elsa Schmidt of Mid-Prairie Community School District and 2018-19 awardee Brad Taylor of Roland-Story Community School District.
A record number of over 400 nominations were submitted last year, and the planning committee strives to match or surpass that number.
“We had a record year last year, and we hope to have a good number of nominations again this year,” Eddy said. “All agriculture teachers deserve to be recognized with a nomination.”
Nominations for this year’s Golden Owl Award will be accepted through Dec. 1.