School Garden Champions

Farm to School Champion Awards

The Athens School Garden Network is celebrating local schools, staff, teachers, and community members for their contributions to farm-to-school and garden-based learning in Athens-Clarke County. 

Farm-to-school programs engage K-12 students across the curriculum in hands-on, food and garden-based learning. The Clarke County School District (CCSD) has received statewide and national recognition for its farm-to-school programs, which have positively impacted our students and district as a whole. In 2019, CCSD received the state’s Platinum-level Golden Radish Award. It was named the state’s “Outstanding District” for farm-to-school in 2015. 

The ACC School Garden Champions Awards is a local award ceremony to celebrate those who make farm-to-school and garden-based learning a success in Athens-Clarke County. This is the second year for these awards. Honorees are nominated by their peers and are individuals that have gone above and beyond to make garden-based learning a success at the school level. 

Farm to School Garden Champion Awards

Congratulations to this year’s Garden Champions!

Outstanding Administrator: Christopher Pendley, Clarke Middle School
Outstanding Administrator: Scott Emard, Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary
Outstanding Elementary School Student: Itzel de Paz Garcia, Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary
Outstanding Elementary School Student: Jaden Lewis, Alps Road Elementary
Outstanding Elementary School Teacher: Sara Clarke, Barrow Elementary
Outstanding Elementary School Teacher: Kristin Beasley, Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary
Outstanding Garden Champion: Andie Bisceglia
Outstanding Garden Partner: Young Urban Farmers
Outstanding Garden Volunteer: Debora Ondracek, JJ Harris Elementary
Outstanding Garden Volunteer: Laura Hall Gabriel, Clarke Central High School
Outstanding High School Student: Isabella Gonzalez, Clarke Central High School
Outstanding High School Teacher; Carly Chandler, Cedar Shoals High School
Outstanding High School Teacher: Kalev Jaason, Clarke Central High School
Outstanding Middle School Student: Latavious Johnson, Clarke Middle School
Outstanding Middle School Student: Odin Bullock, Clarke Middle School
Outstanding Middle School Teacher: Rebecca Glennie, Clarke Middle School
Outstanding Parent Volunteers: CMS Animal Care team, Clarke Middle School
Outstanding School: Barrow Elementary
Outstanding School Staff : Emma Meyers - AmeriCorps Vista, Clarke Middle School
Outstanding School Staff: Adapted Curriculum Team, Clarke Middle School
Outstanding School Staff: 7th Grade Science Team/FCS/Ag.Science, Clarke Middle School

Garden Champion Awardees 2019

  • Outstanding Elementary School Teacher: Leslie Johnson, Whit Davis Elementary
  • Outstanding Middle School Teacher: Jennifer Thomas, Clarke Middle School
  • Outstanding Middle School Teacher- Science: Ashley Na, Clarke Middle School
  • Outstanding Middle School Teacher- Ag Science: Barb Saunders, BHL
  • Outstanding Administrator – Middle: Tad MacMillan, Clarke Middle School
  • Outstanding Administrator- Elementary: Ellen Sabatini, Barrow Elementary
  • Outstanding Elementary School Student: Jacob Lightsey, Barnett Shoals Elementary
  • Outstanding Middle School Student: Adarian Tamarius Pope, Clarke Middle School
  • Outstanding Garden Champion - Volunteer: Tim Hulsey
  • Outstanding Garden Champions - School: Naomi Craver & Karen smith
  • Outstanding Garden Partner Organization: Grow It Know It
  • Outstanding Garden Volunteer: Jake Blaydes, Lunchbox Garden Project
  • Outstanding Volunteer Group: Classic City Lions club, BHL
  • Outstanding School: Clarke Middle School
  • Outstanding Parent Volunteers: Emily Tatum, Nunally Benzing, Julie Darnell, Chase Street Elementary

Garden Champion Awardees 2018

  • Outstanding Student: Takais Jackson, Clarke Middle School
  • Outstanding Elementary School Teacher: Phillip Smith, JJ Harris Elementary
  • Outstanding Middle School Teacher: Debbie Mitchell, Clarke Middle School
  • Outstanding High School Teacher: Jillian Gordon, Clarke Central High School
  • Outstanding School: Clarke Middle School, Tad MacMillan, Principal
  • Outstanding Administrator: Amy Peacock, CCSD K-8 Science Curriculum Coordinator
  • Outstanding School Nutrition Partner: Anthony Holland, Holland Produce
  • Outstanding Facilities Partner: John Cleghorne, CCSD Exec Director, Plant Services
  • Outstanding Culinary Partner: Manny Stone, Athens Community Career Academy
  • Outstanding Garden Champion Partner: Jacob Kennedy on behalf of Hort2000
  • Outstanding Farm Partner: Johannah Biang, UGArden
  • Outstanding Business Partner: Taziki’s
  • Outstanding Master Gardener or Extension Partner: Sarah Lockman
  • Outstanding Parent Volunteer: Lili Hill, Whit Davis Elementary
  • Food Justice Warrior: Connie Roberts, Athens Land Trust

The School Garden Champion Awards are a project of the Athens Community Career Academy, the Clarke County School District, Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful, Grow It Know It, UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, UGA Office of Service Learning, and UGArden.