MILLER CITY — Miller City-New Cleveland High School agribusiness instructor John Koenig was surprised Tuesday with news he is one of 10 finalists to be nominated for a state agriculture educator award.
Koenig is in his fourth year of teaching agribusiness at the high school. He teaches four high school (grades 9-12) agribusiness courses and also teaches a semester of agriculture to eighth grade students.
An assembly with students and staff was held at the high school where Koenig received a $500 check and a plaque honoring him for his service.
He has been nominated for The Golden Owl Award that is sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. It recognizes outstanding ag educators in several midwestern states. The overall winner will be announced at the state FFA Convention in May. After sifting through more than 1,000 nominations, Nationwide will honor 32 teachers across the five states including California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania throughout January and March 2020.
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to be nominated for this award, Koenig said. “I enjoy seeing the top potential of our students and their talents being able to show through with projects.”
Shawnda Vega, Nationwide, Chris Schiefer, CSI Insurance, Putnam County Farm Bureau President Carl Liebrecht and Jessica Parrish, Ohio FFA presented Koenig with the funds and plaque.
Vega read highlights from the nomination letters.
“He does a great job finding opportunities for all his students. He works tirelessly to advance his students, school and community the field of agriculture.” Another comment was that he organizes a scrap metal drive where any profits are donated to families in need or at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Nationwide, the No. 1 farm insurer in the U.S., established the Golden Owl Award in 2018 to honor contributions of Iowa and Ohio agriculture teachers and the importance of agricultural education for future industry leaders. The 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award was expanded to include California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Nationwide is also investing $5,000 in each participating state’s FFA organization to further support aspiring agriculture professionals.
Nominations are generated from school administrators, teachers, students and community members. Koenig had several community members who nominated him for this award.
Kerry Johnson, Miller City-New Cleveland schools superintendent and high school principal, said Koenig is deserving of the award.
“Mr. Koenig’s work has been terrific and he has engaged the students in valuable and rewarding hands-on learning. We are very proud of this recognition as it is well deserved,” Johnson said.
This is the first time a teacher from the school has been nominated for the state award, according to Johnson.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.