Owen Thomason – Diversified Agriculture Program Chair
Owen Thomason has been teaching Agriculture for over 36 years to secondary, post-secondary and adult students. He earned his Bachelor Degree in Agricultural Education in 1985 and a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Education in 1989 from the University of Georgia. Owen received his Educational Specialist Degree in Leadership and Administration from Clemson University in 1998. He has been named the National AgriScience Teacher of the Year, National Young Farmer Advisor of the Year and Charles Bradshaw Citizen of the Year. Owen is married to Dr. Gina Bennett Thomason who teaches for Franklin County Board of Education and Liberty University. They have three children; Malone, Addie and Chloe who all attended Emmanuel College as part of the Move On When Ready program. They also have a wonderful son-in law, Bryan Tucker as part of their family and Willa Jane Tucker, the first grandchild!
So, we numerous as we are, are one body in Christ and individually we are parts one of another (Romans 12:5). None of us are called to do all the work that needs to be done, but we can each enjoy the assignments that we are given by the Lord. Enjoying the assignments that the Lord as given me is what I aim for in my life. Since the age of twelve, when I gave my life totally to God, I have strived to mature in the knowledge of God. My life makes its boast in the Lord (Psalms 34:2). It is not about what I can accomplish, but what the Lord chooses to accomplish through me. The Lord has called me to teach and I will perform the assignment to the best of my ability.
Dr. Leslie Fordham – Assistant Professor of Agriculture
Married to Randy Fordham and live in the Sandy Cross community on the 5th generation farm.
- Owner of Comer Veterinary Clinic for 28 yrs. Practicing small animal medicine and surgery in Comer, Ga 1990– June 2018. Now retired from private practice
- Covenant Cattle Co. family cattle farm in Sandy Cross community of Franklin Co. 130 adult beef cows on a cow/calf operation. /Angus cattle Raising natural beef. We have 1 miniature jersey cow and several chickens.
- Outdoor Dream Foundation-Ga. Chapter vice-president. Volunteer to help terminally ill children on hunting and fishing dreams. My husband, Randy and brother, Bradley also volunteer
- New Covenant Worship Center, Athens, Ga.- member 1999- present: teach and lead different groups—including Financial Peace University, and Robert Morris’s –The God I Never Knew. Alto singer on praise team. Served on mission teams to Honduras*3, Costa Rica, China, and last to Nigeria, installed solar panels for power for and orphanage.) Gathering leader of monthly cooperate prayer. 1st female deacon 2007-2014.
- St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital board member received Hospital HERO award 2017
- Member Ga. Cattlemen’s Association and National Cattlemen’s Association
- Education: University of Georgia Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College 1983-1985 /animal science. Franklin Co. High School salutatorian 1983
- Interests: gardening including canning and freezing, baking- especially desserts, hunting- bow and gun: deer, turkey, dove, quail, duck, hog, and trout fishing—- love being on the farm and around the cows especially with family.
Dr. Fred Westfall – Assistant Professor of Agriculture
Dr. Fred Westfall currently resides in Royston, Ga. and its a member of the The Springs Church. He is currently employed by Marel, Incorporated and serves as a technical support engineer. He has previously taught biology, anatomy, and physiology as an adjunct instructor at both Emmanuel College and Athens Technical College. He is married with three children and seven grandchildren.
Dr. Shannon Lawrence
Shannon Lawrence is the instructor for AG 404 Agricultural Processing and Marketing at Emmanuel. He lives in Jackson County with his wife, Carol, and four children. Shannon has been teaching and involved in education for more than 17 years. He began his teaching career as an agricultural education teacher before becoming a Work Based Learning and Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator in 2019. His Undergraduate and Masters are from The University of Georgia. His Ph.D. was earned at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. His research was focused on induction year agricultural education teachers. He focused on agricultural education teacher preparation and teaching agricultural mechanics.
Shannon has a passion for helping those he meets realize their potential and build a better future. He utilizes multiple content areas to assist in reaching as many students as possible, but usually brings it back around to The Lord, the multifaceted agriculture industry and entrepreneurship. He has taught agriculture at the middle school, high school, college and university levels. When not at work, Shannon enjoys assisting his wife in operating her agri-business —Steadfast Farms— spending time with his children, serving in their church, and working on farm equipment.