Western Christian Ag Teacher Is Finalist For Nationwide’s Golden Owl Award

Hull, Iowa — An insurance company has selected a northwest Iowa educator as a finalist in an annual contest.

Nationwide Insurance officials say 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 Iowa’s leading agricultural teachers, Nationwide — who says they are the No. 1 insurer of farms and ranches in the U.S. — is honoring seven exceptional teachers as finalists for its Golden Owl Award.

In partnership with the Iowa FFA Foundation, Nationwide collected more than 400 nominations from local students, fellow teachers, parents, and community members from August to December 2020.

Among Iowa’s 2020-2021 Golden Owl Award finalists is Kylie Nettinga of Western Christian High School in Hull.

Other finalists include

Dr. Michael Retallick – Iowa State University
Wyatt Forsyth – Wapsie Valley High School
Elisa Russ-Poggemiller – Clear Lake High School
Marcia Kilgard – Iowa Valley High School
Monty Collins – Pleasantville High School
Brittany Elmquist – Audubon High School

Nationwide says 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 Iowa’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.

Nationwide’s agribusiness president, Brad Liggett says that 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. He says Nationwide 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.

He says they’re recognizing teachers in seven states.

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

To learn more about the Golden Owl Award, visit

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