UGA Extension Academy sets out to train future extension leaders

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A select group of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension employees has been chosen for the 2018-19 UGA Extension Academy for Professional Excellence — an internal program aimed at developing the next generation of leadership.

The program is designed to teach leadership skills to early- and mid-career UGA county Extension agents, state specialists and UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and College of Family and Consumer Sciences personnel. Ultimately, the training is an effort toward fulfilling UGA Extension’s mission of helping Georgians become healthier, more productive, financially independent and environmentally responsible individuals.

"Programs such as Extension Academy allow us to prepare for the next generation of leadership within our organization,” said Lauren Griffeth, UGA Extension leadership specialist and organizer of the academy. “We hope that participants graduate from this experience feeling engaged, empowered and equipped to better serve UGA Extension.”

In September, the newest cohort of Extension Academy participants gathered in Athens, Georgia, for the first of three leadership institutes. Each three-day institute will offer intensive personal and professional development training facilitated by the CAES Office of Learning and Organizational Development.

Extension Academy graduate and Newton County 4-H agent Terri Kimble Fullerton says the program “re-energized” her for the next stage of her professional life. She says completing the academy was one of the best investments she ever made in her career.

“The program helped me see my path forward in UGA Extension. I expected to do a lot of the same personality- and team-building activities I’ve completed a hundred times before,” she said. “Instead, Extension’s choice of an outside expert who also had Extension experience to lead the program made all the difference. I accomplished personal growth with the help of an Extension mentor and learned so many things that have helped me develop myself and my 4-H program.”

Kevin Livingston, the UGA Extension Agricultural and Natural Resources agent in Douglasville, Georgia, wasn’t sure what to expect when he attended the academy. Now a graduate of the program, he highly recommends it to his colleagues.

“I heard from other Extension staff that it was a great experience and it proved to be exactly that. The program was well done and offered opportunities for networking with others outside of my normal work area, he said. “The program stimulated many thoughts and generated a new awareness of both self and others.”

This year’s Extension Academy participants are:

  • Leigh Anne Aaron, Family and Consumer Sciences agent, Oconee and Morgan counties
  • Kelle Ashley, 4-H agent, Oconee County
  • Stephanie Benton, 4-H agent, Early County
  • Pam Bloch, 4-H agent, Gwinnett County
  • Kasey Bozeman, county Extension coordinator and 4-H agent, Liberty and Long counties
  • Paul Coote, director, Burton 4-H Center
  • Tim Davis, county Extension coordinator and Agriculture and Natural Resources agent, Chatham County
  • Clark MacAllister, county Extension coordinator and Agriculture and Natural Resources agent, Dawson and Lumpkin Counties
  • Merritt Melancon, public relations coordinator, UGA Extension, Office of Communications and Creative Services
  • Susan Moore, Family and Consumer Sciences agent, Laurens County
  • Justin Shealey, county Extension coordinator and Agriculture and Natural Resources agent, Echols County
  • Heather Shultz, 4-H livestock programs coordinator, UGA Extension
  • Joe Slusher, county Extension coordinator and Agriculture and Natural Resources agent, Ware County
  • Cindee Sweda, Family and Consumer Sciences agent, Spalding County
  • Trish West, county Extension coordinator and 4-H agent, Bryan County
  • Tripp Williams, county Extension coordinator and Agriculture and Natural Resources agent, Columbia County

 

For more information on UGA Extension’s impact in Georgia, visit extension.uga.edu.

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
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