Six California Agricultural Teachers Celebrated as Finalists for Ag Educator of the Year

One finalist to be crowned California’s 2020-2021 Ag Educator of the Year through Nationwide’s Golden Owl Award®

Des Moines, Iowa – Agricultural teachers play an essential and selfless role in the communities they serve. As they prepare future generations for successful careers, many also devote countless hours and often their own resources to make a difference. 

To shed light on the contributions of California’s leading agricultural teachers, Nationwide, the No. 1 insurer of farms and ranches in the U.S.1, is honoring six exceptional teachers as finalists for its Golden Owl Award. 

In partnership with the California FFA and the California Farm Bureau, Nationwide collected more than 280 nominations from local students, fellow teachers, parents and community members from August to December 2020.

California’s 2020-2021 Golden Owl Award finalists are: 

  • Carrie Phillips – Bret Harte High School
  • Sandy Lovfald – Eureka High School
  • Julie Luxon – Madera South High School
  • Luis Guerra – Santa Maria High School
  • Brenda Davis-Landini – El Capitan High School
  • Tim Brown – Tulelake High School

Each finalist will receive an individualized plaque and $500 to help fund future educational efforts and will be entered into a final selection stage for the chance to be crowned as California’s Ag Educator of the Year. In addition to the Ag Educator of the Year designation, the grand-prize winner will also receive a $3,000 Nationwide-funded check to help bring new educational opportunities to the program and its students and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy.  

“Similar to Nationwide’s mission of delivering extraordinary care, teachers across the country go above and beyond to bring new educational opportunities for their students and help them pursue their passions,” said Nationwide’s agribusiness president, Brad Liggett. “We created the Golden Owl Award in 2018 to honor the contributions of teachers, highlight the growing need for their services, and supply additional resources to help boost their programs and provide students with optimal learning experiences.” 

In the award’s second year, Nationwide broadened the program from two states to five, recognizing the efforts of 31 agricultural teachers across California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania with the 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award. As a result of the positive response from the communities that Golden Owl Award nominees make a difference in, Nationwide expanded the 2020-2021 Golden Owl Award even further to include Indiana and New York. 

“We’re proud to recognize hardworking teachers in seven states for their dedication to preparing future generations for success,” said Liggett. 

Nationwide is also investing $5,000 in each participating state’s FFA organization, including the California FFA, to further support aspiring agriculture professionals. 

The Golden Owl Award is the result of partnerships between Nationwide, the California FFA, California Farm Bureau, Illinois FFA, Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers, Farm Credit Illinois, Indiana FFA, Farm Credit Mid-America, the Iowa FFA Foundation, New York FFA, New York Farm Bureau, Ohio FFA, Ohio Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania FFA, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Compeer Financial. 

To learn more about the Golden Owl Award, visit

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 and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

1 Source: A.M. Best Market Share Report 2019

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s