Miami Trace High School agriculture teacher Wendi Mizer Stachler was surprised Friday with an announcement that she was named one of 10 finalists for the 2019-2020 Golden Owl/Ag Teacher of the Year.
According to information from account executive Shawnda Vega with Nationwide — the sponsor of the award — the Ohio FFA and Ohio Farm Bureau have selected 10 honorees in the state. All 10 will be finalists for the Ag Teacher of the Year which will be announced at the FFA convention in the spring of this year. These finalists were all honored at some point with an announcement and a check for $500 for all of their work in teaching agriculture to students and helping to prepare them for work in the agricultural industry.
“We are incredibly proud of Ms. Stachler and our entire agriculture program,” Miami Trace High School Principal Rob Enochs said following the announcement Friday. “She is a quality instructor who brings great opportunities to our students. I know one of the comments from her nomination made a reference to the fact they were an old student of hers who is now in the agricultural industry. She has done great work in impacting the lives of students and helping them on that path. All of our ag teachers here work hard and help each other move forward, but we are glad to highlight Wendi, who is doing some nice work in the district. The amount of time spent on weekends, late nights and early mornings preparing these students for competitions or projects is incredible and we are glad to have her here.”
Stachler has been at Miami Trace High School for five years, but said Friday that she has been teaching for 21 years in various places from London, Ohio to North Dakota. She said she returned to teach in Ohio and soon found work with Great Oaks that led to her position at Miami Trace High School. With tears in her eyes, Stachler accepted a plaque and large check from the various representatives Friday.
“It is very humbling,” Stachler said. “You do this work never expecting something like this. Never expecting to be recognized like this, it’s very hard to believe that it’s happened. I don’t do this work for a thank you, but to see students succeed. For me seeing a student understand what we are teaching them makes it priceless for me. Some student may consider it harping, but I only keep on the students because I see the potential they have.”
Perhaps the biggest nod to the work and character of Stachler — even while being honored by a room full of students and representatives — she took time to discuss a project personally with a student who had stopped to congratulate her on the award.
“I’d like to highlight a few comments made about this honoree,” Vega said. “’(Stachler) is always willing to help students from other schools and chapters, not just her own,’ and ‘(Stachler) impacted me and motivated me to become an agricultural educator myself. She is known at the national level for her competitive work with student teams; however, on a personal level I know of her work with students with significant cognitive disabilities.’”
Finally, Vega went on to say that one honoree from each of the five participating states will be chosen as their state’s grand prize winner based on additional review by each state’s selection committee. Each grand prize winner will then receive the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy, the designation as their state’s Ag Educator of the Year, and a $3,000 Nationwide-funded award designed to support continued education efforts. In closing, Vega thanked Nationwide, Wilber-Price Insurance Group, Ohio FFA and the Ohio Farm Bureau for the amazing recognition of Stachler.
The information in this article was provided by account executive Shawnda Vega with Nationwide and Miami Trace High School Principal Rob Enochs.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.