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. 

The School Garden Champions award ceremony was held at the Athens Community Career Academy on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 4:30pm. Dinner was prepared and served by Chef Emmanuel Stone, students at the Athens Community Career Academy, and the Athens Land Trust’s Young Urban Farmers. Dinner featured Georgia grown beef and locally grown vegetables. 

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 2018, 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. 

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

The Athens School Garden Network includes the Athens Community Career Academy, the Clarke County School District, Athens Land Trust, Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful, and Grow It Know It in partnership with Clarke County School District, UGA Public Service and Outreach, and UGA Extension




  • Outstanding Elementary School Teacher
  • Outstanding Middle School Teacher
  • Outstanding High School Teacher
  • Outstanding School Staff
  • Outstanding Administrator
  • Outstanding Elementary School Student
  • Outstanding Middle School Student
  • Outstanding High School Student
  • Outstanding Garden Champion or Partner
  • Outstanding Garden Volunteer
  • Outstanding School
  • Outstanding Parent Volunteers