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FFA Advisor, Stephanie Mann, One of Six Teachers Recognized as Finalists for Golden Owl Award

The Nebraska Golden Owl Award recognizes teachers with an outstanding commitment and impact on their students and dedication to agricultural education. Out of many nominations, six finalists were selected. Finalist, Stephanie Mann, from the Crofton FFA chapter, works hard to push her students to be their best and find an appreciation for the agriculture industry.

Inspired by her two high school agriculture teachers and her love of agricultural education and FFA, Mrs. Mann studied agricultural education in college. However, she got married and had two kids right out of college, so she didn’t immediately enter the teaching field. But, when her youngest child was old enough for elementary school, the Crofton position opened up and she applied and received it. “I started a little bit later than a lot of kids out of college but it was great because I had a lot of life experience by then,” shared Mann. Mrs. Mann has now been at Crofton for 26 years.

When Mrs. Mann started in her position at Crofton, only 2 out of the 25 FFA members were female. But, she said this changed immediately when she took the position because having a female teacher encouraged female students in the school to give FFA a chance. Mrs. Mann’s time at Crofton has been filled with dedicated members, supportive parents, and an amazing school administration.

Crofton FFA is known in their community for the community service they do including trash pickups and helping with the community’s “Santa Days” celebration.

Mrs. Mann said the key to her success as an agriculture teacher is having high expectations of her students. “I think if we expect a lot from them, they’ll deliver. They always seem to do more than I expect,” stated Mann.

Her favorite parts of the job are seeing the growth of students throughout their time in high school and sharing the importance of agriculture. Mrs. Mann tries to show her students every day just how great of an effect the agriculture industry has on the world. She also enjoys seeing the success of her students in competitions, Supervised Agricultural Experiences, and the classroom. Mrs. Mann believes that all students can find something they enjoy in ag education. One nominator shared, “Mrs. Mann is constantly looking for new ways to provide better educational opportunities for students.”

One of Mrs. Mann’s favorite memories in agricultural education was serving in leadership positions in the Nebraska Agriculture Educators Association. She enjoyed working with the other amazing agriculture teachers in the state and working to make improvements to the industry.

Mrs. Mann’s advice for future agriculture teachers includes not sacrificing your family for your career. She also knows that the first couple of years are difficult, but believes the rewards heavily outweigh the work you put in.

Outside the classroom, Mrs. Mann spends time with her family and grandchildren. “My husband, Scott, and I have two sons, two daughters-in-law, and four beautiful grandkids that I love to spend any time I can with. I love that time the most,” shared Mann.

Mrs. Mann would like to thank her family, the Crofton community, the parents of Crofton FFA members, her hardworking students, and all of the other ag teachers in Nebraska who offer advice and share resources.

The Nebraska Golden Owl Award is sponsored by the Nebraska Agriculture Educators Association, the Nebraska FFA Foundation, and Nationwide.