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Swanson named South Dakota Ag Educator of the Year

DES MOINES, IA – Agricultural educators play a crucial role in their communities, dedicating countless hours and often their own resources to preparing students for successful careers and helping them follow their interests. In South Dakota, seven exceptional ag teachers were named as finalists of the 2022-2023 Golden Owl Award® for their positive impact in the classroom and industry overall. Of the finalists, Noelle Swanson, an agricultural teacher at Northwestern Area School District, was named South Dakota’s 2022-2023 Ag Educator of the Year.

Nationwide, in partnership with the South Dakota FFA Foundation, recognized Swanson as the 2022-2023 Golden Owl Award grand prize winner during the State FFA State Convention. In addition to the title of South Dakota’s Ag Educator of the Year, Swanson will receive the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy and a $3,000 Nationwide-funded donation to further Northwestern Area’s agricultural education efforts.

Swanson’s nominations described her as “an example of who a champion for agricultural education truly is.”  “She works to find potential in all students” and “embodies the Agriculture Food and Natural Resources instructor that we would all want our children to have in class.”

Nationwide established the Golden Owl Award with its state partners to shed light on the contributions of South Dakota’s leading agricultural teachers and provide additional resources to support their programs. In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is donating $5,000 to each participating state’s FFA, including the South Dakota FFA, to further support the personal and professional growth of students, teachers and advisors alike.

Other finalists from South Dakota included: Jim Chilson, Florence School District, Kelly Keller, Arlington High School, Bridget Twedt, Beresford High School, Mark Misar, Bon Homme High School, Tanna White, Hot Springs School District, and Andrew Jensen, Sioux Falls CTE Academy.

Each finalist was presented with an individualized plaque and received a $500 donation to help fund future educational efforts for their programs.

The Golden Owl Award, which honors outstanding teachers across 9 states, is the result of partnerships between Nationwide, the California FFA, California Farm Bureau, Illinois FFA, Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers, Farm Credit Illinois, AgCredit, Indiana FFA, Farm Credit Mid-America, Iowa FFA Foundation, Nebraska Agricultural Educators Association, Nebraska FFA Foundation, New York FFA, New York Farm Bureau, Ohio FFA, Ohio Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania FFA, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Compeer Financial and South Dakota FFA Foundation.

For more information, visit www.goldenowlaward.com.

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