National Rural Education Association
The Voice of Rural Schools and Communities

And the Winner is...

We are happy to announce the most recent award winners. Congratulations to them for their exemplary dedication to education in our nation’s rural schools.

Rural Teacher of the Year

Pennsylvania Teacher Named 2018-2019 Monsanto Fund Rural Teacher of the Year

Please contact Allen Pratt via email or at (423) 667.2165 

Wade Owletta is the Monsanto Fund National Rural Teacher of the Year for 2018-2019Chattanooga, TN--- Allen Pratt, Executive Director of the National Rural Education Association, announced the selection of Wade Owlett as the Monsanto Fund National Rural Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Owlett teaches in Northern Tioga School District at Clark Wood Elementary.

Wade Owlett grew up on a dairy farm outside of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Mr. Owlett has undergraduate degrees in both journalism and international studies, which he obtained from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and The University of New England in Armidale, Australia. He completed his master’s degree in education at Mansfield University. During the summer of 2017, Mr. Owlett received a grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities and The University of Utah to participate in a workshop to create an historical framework for analyzing the standing narrative of westward expansion.

Mr. Owlett has been teaching at Clark Wood Elementary school for 13 years. In that time, his primary focus has been teaching English and language skills at various levels. He also teaches historical thinking through social studies and STEM skills in science.

Recently named Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools’ Rural Educator of the Year, Mr. Owlett is also one of 12 finalists for Pennsylvania’s National Network of State Teachers of the Year.

According to Mr. Owlett, “With all of their successes and failures, my greatest contributions and accomplishments are my students.” Mr. Owlett believes that sharing and collaborating with colleagues is vital. “Having a team that supports you, challenges you, and helps you maintain professionalism is invaluable.”

When he is not teaching, Mr. Owlett enjoys traveling with his wife, reading, and hiking. 

Owlett will receive the award at the 110th National Rural Education Convention and Research Seminar and National Rural Education Forum on October 12 in Denver, Colorado. He will receive a $2000 award, and Clark Wood Elementary School will receive $1000. We will recognize all finalists for the award at the banquet.

Finalists for the 2018-19 Monsanto Fund Rural Teacher of the Year were:

  • Kay McLain - Wisconsin
  • Lindsay Olsen - Texas
  • Amy Sisk - Tennessee
  • Dale Ritter - Nebraska
  • Roger Ebnet - Minnesota
  • John L. Harkness - Indiana
  • Kathy Currie - Montana
  • Rodolfo Basaldva - Arizona

The Rural Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, who works to substantially and meaningfully improve the lives of people around the world. We are focused on one goal – strengthening both farming communities and the communities where we live and work.

NREA Foundation Rural Hall of Fame

These individuals are recognized for their contributions to NREA, and as incentive to all of the members of NREA to model the work and effort of these outstanding rural educators.

  • Ray Drage: Inducted in 2007 - Ohio Past President 1979
  • Joe Newlin: Inducted in 2007 - Colorado (Executive Secretary 1980 - 1999)
  • E. Robert Stephens: Inducted in 2008 - Iowa Past President 1972
  • V. Pauline Hodges: Inducted in 2008 - Oklahoma Past President 1998
  • Edward W. Chance: Inducted in 2009 - Oklahoma and Nevada Research Leader
  • John Sullivan: Inducted in 2009 - Kansas Past President 1999 and Auctioneer
  • Travis Cliett: Inducted in 2010 - Mississippi Executive Committee Member
  • George Brown: Inducted in 2010 - Texas Past President 2001
  • Patricia Laubach: Inducted in 2010 - North Dakota Past President 1990
  • Al Eads: Inducted in 2012 - Past President 2003
  • Don Rogers: Inducted in 2015 - Texas Rural Education Association Executive Director
  • Claudette Morton: Inducted in 2015 - Montana Rural Education Leader
  • Jack Sanders: Inducted in 2015 - Rural Researcher

Howard Dawson Award

The winners of the Howard A. Dawson Best Research Paper Award received this award based on their outstanding research paper submitted to the Research Symposium.

  • 2006 - Pat Hardre
  • 2007 - Mary Beth Corbin and Vivian Martin Covington
  • 2008 - Pat Hardre and David Sullivan
  • 2009 - John Sipple, Lisa McCabe, Hope Castro
  • 2010 - Caitlin Howley, Kimberly Hambrick
  • 2011 - Aimee Howley, Karen Eppley, Marged Howley
  • 2012 - Michelle Tines
  • 2013 - Jackie Florendo, Jody Isernhagen
  • 2014 - Peter Denner and Gary Storie
  • 2015 - Matthew Burke, Elisabeth Davis, Jennifer Stephens