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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

November 2014

Steve BrownSteve Brown, Interim Associate Dean for Extension, 706/542-3824,

What I'm Thankful For

At this time of year and (in my case) at this time in my career, I felt I should take some time to reflect on how lucky Ive been. Weve all been dealt a different deck of cards to play in our lives. Weve all had our struggles, but those of you reading this have all been successful in that you all have rewarding jobs and careers in an outstanding organization. I have been blessed to be in a leadership role in Cooperative Extension for several years now. Sometimes its easy to think about all the personal hard work and sacrifice that got me there, but the truth is, there was a lot of dumb luck, too. Im thankful for dumb luck. All of the positive turning points in my life followed what I thought were streaks of really bad luck. It was as if the bad events just had to happen in order for the good events to follow. In retrospect, Im thankful for bad luck, too.

Ive been blessed with a great deal of family support. Its near impossible to be successful in Cooperative Extension without it. Thanks to my wife Mary and my children Heather, Nathan and Travis for understanding when work hours encroached on family time. Ive been blessed with great mentors and co-workers along the way, far too many to try to mention. Thank you all for your kindness, support and friendship. Thank you for making it so easy to get up and come to work every day. Weve all been blessed by the many talented people that came before us and created the Cooperative Extension system we have today.

Ive been blessed with so many opportunities to do the right thing. Sometimes I did, and other times I fell short, but I was always blessed with opportunities to learn from my many mistakes. Ive been blessed with good health. We should never take good health for granted and help those that have not been so blessed.

Ive been blessed to have a job that was to support the best agricultural production system in the world. The U.S. agricultural industry is an amazingly productive and resilient system. Im proud to have had even a minute part in keeping it going. Whether you work in agriculture, family and consumer sciences, 4-H, or in a support role for all three, you have an incredible opportunity to improve life on this planet. Not everyone can say that. Be thankful for the opportunity and make the most of it.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price discusses new agent positions and leadership changes;
  • Deborah Murray congratulates Laura Perry Johnson on her new role as the director of UGA Extension; and
  • Arch Smith gives thanks for the good work done at Jekyll Island 4-H Center as preparations are made for its closure.


County Operations

Greg PriceGreg Price, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060,

As we approach the end of another year, its good to reflect and be thankful for all the new employees who have joined the Extension team in the last year. After three years of cuts it is exciting to have another year of growth. In addition to new funds from the state we have added many more dollars from our county governments. The addition of these dollars along with careful management by our district directors have allowed us to begin adding back resources lost in the last budget down cycle.

We restored 15 agent positions in 2014 and we reduced the number of counties without at least one full time agent from 30 counties to 21.

We are also experiencing a lot of leadership changes. Over 20 new county coordinators were appointed in 2014. Our new agent and new county coordinator training classes were full this past year.

We are requesting funding for an additional 20 county agents in the next state budget. If we get this funding, we will restore more agents in all three program areas in all regions of the state.

Your Extension administration recognizes that a year of salary increase does not replace years of no salary increase. While we want these new positions, it is not our desire that these positions come in lieu of salary increases for our current employees. We recognize and appreciate the extra efforts of many employees over the past few years.

Current Number of County Faculty/Staff
ANR Agents 137
FACS Agents 46
4-H Agents 111
Associates 66
CEPAs 192
Secretaries 168


Family and Consumer Sciences

Deborah MurrayDeborah Murray, FACS State Program Leader, 706/542-4862,

What Do We Expect from a New Leader?

Congratulations to Laura Perry Johnson! We are all excited to have you on board. While reading an Forbes magazine article, 7 Words Define What Employees Expect from Leadership, I thought about Laura as she begins her new role as our new director. As I reflect on these seven words I find that what employees expect from leaders are also what leaders expect from employees. The way we operationalize these expectations depend on the many different roles we all have in our organizations.

The seven words are:

  1. Specificity. Employees do not want to be blindsided and leaders certainly do not want to be blindsided.
  2. Empowerment. Employees don't want to have to ask permission from leaders and leaders want employees to be independent and productive.
  3. Vulnerability. Employees know that leaders don't have all the answers and nor should they. Leaders know that employees don't have all the answers and build teams that build on strengths and weaknesses of the team including agent and specialist teams.
  4. Honesty. Employees don't want leaders to hold back on the truth and leaders expect and want the same from employees.
  5. Accountability. Employees expect leaders to not delegate important duties to others and leaders expect employees to do the same. Accountable leaders and employees are the most admired by all.
  6. Respect. Employees want leaders to respect their team and individual contributions and leaders want employees to respect the contributions of teams and other individual contributions, too.
  7. Authenticity. Employees do not want to just see the leader's “game face.” Leaders also know when an employee is “sucking up.” They don't get to be leaders without knowing authenticity when they see it!

Welcome Laura to your new role. Hopefully, we will meet your expectations!

PDC Boot Camp

Last week the four FACS program development coordinators visited on campus for orientation the first half of the week. All 4-H, ANR and FACS PDCs met collectively the last part of the week. Although it was a whirlwind week, I think all of us, PDCs, DEDs, program leaders, county operations staff development team, left with a renewed sense that we are a great team. There was such a sense of collaboration as we work together to break down silos, to provide the best possible support and training for county agents and staff, and to connect all of the university's resources to build county programs. Welcome new FACS PDCs to the team!


4-H and Youth Development

Arch SmithArch Smith, 4-H & Youth Development State Program Leader, 706/542-4H4H,

During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, I always reflect on the many blessings for which I am thankful. I enjoy this time of year as it means a little more time with friends and family to enjoy the fellowship of the holiday season. Every day I am grateful for the many wonderful colleagues with whom I work throughout the year.

We have many different office building scenarios across the state. Our facilities range from elaborate ones to some that could use much improvement. The same is true of our 4-H centers. Rock Eagles new cabins and new dining hall are quite comfortable and pleasant while the accommodations at some of the smaller 4-H centers are crowded. Regardless of the how nice the Extension office or the 4-H center building is, the keys to the success of all our Extension programs are the people who work to deliver agricultural, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H programs to our clientele. Good people are what make good Extension offices and good 4-H centers.

In the October issue of this newsletter I mentioned Dec. 5, 2014, will be our last day to serve students at Jekyll Island 4-H Center. The Jekyll center is a group of buildings that was built as a motel in the 1950s and later closed. After other groups operated the facility, it was leased to Georgia 4-H to operate as a 4-H center. It needed a lot of work in 1982, but with a little help over the past 32 years, it became an important and valued asset to 4-H program delivery.

The success of Jekyll Island 4-H Center resulted from dedicated people who ensured that the facility and its programs were the best the University of Georgia Extension 4-H program could offer. As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, on behalf of all of Georgia 4-H and all those who have attended summer camp, an environmental education program, football camp, or other youth event at Jekyll Island 4-H Center, we say, THANK YOU to those employees who made 4-H a success on Jekyll Island. Special thanks to those who worked on Jekyll Island to develop and maintain our programs and facilities over the years goes to Danny Tillman, Allen Sykes, Westy Westmoreland, Rev. Charles Crummy, John Roberts, Erik Thompson, Joe Caudell, Donna Stewart, Melanie Biersmith, Dawn Zenkert, Richard Chewning, and many other EE instructors and other part-time employees.

Finally, I extend sincere appreciation for a job well done to those who currently work at Jekyll Island 4-H Center and who will help us close the facility in December. Those include Morgan Boaman, Kimberly Britton, Amber Brown, Roosevelt Butler, Breanna L. Crowell, Winston Drury, Carolnay Ducksworth, Ashley E. Gumm, Sharon Hamilton, Kristen Hay, Lucy Holmes, Joyce Howard, Grady K. Kirby, Gregory Kosik, Jeanna Mielcarek, Margaret G. Mirasola, Patricia S. Morris, James Nobles, Lauren Nys, Samara Ocher, Juliet Ramirez, Ann Roozen, Michael Thrower, and Sprawley Washington.

Thank you for your contributions to the success of Jekyll Island 4-H Center. We wish you the best.

Georgia 4-H will continue to operate Tidelands Nature Center under the leadership of Dawn Zenkert and Richard Chewning. Donna Stewart will be working out of the Glynn County Extension office and delivering 4-H programs in the local schools. Donna will continue to be our administrative contact for any Jekyll Island 4-H related questions. The new facility should be completed in late 2016 and Donna and Richard will help us establish our 4-H programs at the new facility.


Outstanding Extension program

The November winner of the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Youth Build Gardening Program coordinated by Liz Lubrani with Chatham County Extension in conjunction with the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens.

In Youth-Build programs, low-income young people ages 16 to 24 work full-time for up to 24 months toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while learning job skills by building affordable housing in their communities. Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens has collaborated with Youth-Build Savannah creating a series of four classes that teaches students basic gardening and landscaping skills. These classes incorporate basic environmental science concepts that will be on the GED test. Skills learned will be put to use landscaping the homes they build and gives students practical experience for their resumes.

Youth Build class in Savannah, Ga.


Personnel actions since October 1, 2014

New Hires

  • Bartow County Elizabeth Pryor, County Ext Assoc, 11/1/2014
  • Cook County Janet Myers, County Sec, 11/6/2014
  • Coweta County Megan Bailey, Public Serv Rep, 10/1/2014
  • Forsyth County Heather Kolich, Public Serv Rep, 10/1/2014
  • Quitman County Kayla Wall, Public Serv Rep, 11/1/2014
  • Tattnall County Charles Griffin, Public Serv Rep, 10/1/2014

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Forsyth County Louise Estabrook, from Cherokee to Forsyth County, 10/1/2014
  • Jasper County Robert Gafnea, from Meriwether to Jasper County, 10/1/2014
  • Lee County Mallroy Maslak, from Terrell to Lee County, 11/1/2014
  • NE District Office – Denise Everson, from Clarke County to NED FACS PDC, 11/1/2014
  • NW District Office – Kisha Faulk, from Fulton County to NWD FACS PDC, 11/1/2014
  • SE District Office – Janet Hollingsworth, from Appling County to SED FACS PDC, 11/1/2014
  • SW District Office – Andrea Scarrow, from Colquitt County to SWD FACS PDC, 11/1/2014


  • Clarke County Judy Hibbs, Sr Public Serv Associate, 9/30/2014
  • Evans County Michael Dollar, Public Serv Assist, 10/31/2014
  • Johnson County Travis Woodard, Public Serv Rep, 10/31/2014
  • Lincoln County Christa Padgett, County Ext Assoc, 11/14/2014
  • Terrell County Sonja Strickland, County Sec, 10/31/2014