Ayersville teacher named Ohio’s ag educator of the year

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COLUMBUS — Nationwide recently recognized 10 Ohio teachers as finalists for the 2020-2021 Golden Owl Award. In partnership with Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio FFA, AgCredit and Farm Credit Mid-America, the insurer recognized Don Hammersmith at Ayersville High School as Ohio’s 2020-2021 Ag Educator of the Year. 


Hammersmith was formally recognized as the Golden Owl Award grand prize winner during the Ohio FFA State Convention. In addition to the title of Ohio’s Ag Educator of the Year, Hammersmith received the Golden Owl Award trophy and Ayersville High School received a $3,000 Nationwide-funded award to further its agricultural education efforts. 

Hammersmith’s nominations described him as humble, dedicated and selfless. One nomination read, “He works tirelessly to provide opportunities for his students to succeed in whatever path they choose.” 

Another one states, “Since he took over the program nearly 30 years ago, he has been able to produce dozens of state degree winners as well as dozens of national degree winners through FFA. Our students benefit greatly from Mr. Hammersmith’s program. He is a true educator and is vital in our small community’s lifeblood.” 

Nationwide launched the Golden Owl Award in 2018-2019 in Iowa and Ohio before expanding the program to recognize leading educators across seven states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

Nomination period

Nominations for the 2021-2022 Golden Owl Award are now underway and will close in Ohio Dec. 31. Following the nomination period, a selection committee will determine ten (10) state finalists, who will receive an individualized plaque and $500 to support their school’s agriculture programs. 

A state finalist will then be chosen as Ohio’s Golden Owl Award winner and receive the coveted Golden Owl Award and an additional $3,000 Nationwide-funded contribution to their program. 

To nominate a teacher or learn more about the Golden Owl Award, visit goldenowlaward.com.


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