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National Rural Education Association

Current Award Winners

We are happy to announce the most recent award winners. We honor 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

Wade OwlettAllen Pratt, executive director of the National Rural Education Association, announced the selection of Wade Owlett from Chattanooga, Tennessee, as the 2018–19 Monsanto Fund National Rural Teacher of the Year.

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

Wade grew up on a dairy farm outside of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. He 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. During 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.

Mr. Owlett received a $2000 award at the 110th National Rural Education Convention and Research Seminar and National Rural Education Forum on October 12 in Denver, Colorado. Additionally, Clark Wood Elementary School received $1000.

We recognized 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, which 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.

Howard Dawson Award

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

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