XENIA — Already a recipient of the Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher Award, Mike Spahr is up for another big one.
The power equipment mechanics teacher at the Greene County Career Center is one of 10 finalists in Ohio for Nationwide’s Golden Owl Award.
The award recognizes contributions of Iowa and Ohio teachers in preparing the next generation of young people for successful careers in agriculture.
Spahr is also a graduate of the power equipment mechanics program, and is active in farming in the Xenia area. He’s also the school’s FFA advisor, organizing student trips to FFA camps and competitions while teaching valuable life skills.
“Mr. Spahr continues to do what is right for our students and has been a lifelong advocate for FFA,” GCCC Director of Secondary Education Dr. Pamela Downing said. “This recognition is well deserved and we are honored to have such a dedicated teacher in our school. “
At separate award ceremonies, 10 finalists in Ohio and seven finalists in Iowa will be presented with a $500 cash prize and entered into a final selection stage. In April 2019, one finalist from each state will be chosen as a grand-prize winner based on additional review by a selection committee. Each grand-prize winner will receive a Golden Owl Award trophy, the designation of Ag Educator of the Year and a $3,000 Nationwide-funded cash award designed to help support continued education efforts.
“We’re proud to recognize outstanding teachers for their dedication to agriculture education and their communities,” said Brad Liggett, president of agribusiness for Nationwide. “These talented individuals have dedicated their careers to helping the next generation of agricultural leaders. The nominations highlight the tremendous efforts these teachers provide to agricultural education and the inspiration they give to their students.”
According to Nationwide, recent trends show a declining number of students who are studying agriculture. To shed light on this trend, Nationwide established the Golden Owl Award to honor contributions of agriculture teachers and the importance of agricultural education on future industry leaders. This effort is the result of a partnership between Nationwide, the Iowa FFA Foundation, the Ohio FFA, and Ohio Farm Bureau.
“We created this award to bring attention to the growing need for agricultural teachers in this country,” Liggett said. “Providing teachers with these additional resources will help develop their programs and provide their students with an optimal learning experience. Our goal is to spread this program to more states in the coming years to highlight all the talented agriculture teachers across the country.”