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The day to day experiences of a University of Illinois Extension Urban Horticulture Educator in Chicago, Illinois
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U of I Extension Names Educators for New Units

Posted by Ron Wolford -

The statewide reorganization of University of Illinois Extension continued this month, with the appointments of 118 Educators who will serve in the 26 new multi-county Extension Units across Illinois. Only Cook County remains as a single-county Extension operation.

Although the reorganization was prompted by a shortfall in state funding, staffing decisions have been made on the basis of local program needs, according to Robert Hoeft, Interim Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach on the Urbana campus.

"We've come to realize that we can no longer afford to offer every program in every county," Hoeft said. "Our Unit Council volunteers worked with staff to prioritize Educator needs, and the new organization demonstrates our commitment to meeting the most critical needs at the local level," Hoeft said.

Maintaining and strengthening the 4-H Youth Development program was a high priority in most counties, and the new hires reflect that, Hoeft said. "Our 4-H members and volunteers in every Unit of the state will be served by a 4-H Youth Development Educator who focuses on the needs of those particular counties.

"With the reorganization, most of our Educators will serve a more limited geographic area than they did in the past. They will be able to focus on local needs, without spending so much time on the road," Hoeft said.

Under the old organization, locally funded Educators served just one or a few counties, while many State-funded Educators were responsible for providing programming in dozens of counties. Under the new system, most Educators will serve from three to seven counties.

Money saved by eliminating rent expenses at regional Extension Centers and other administrative overhead will be redirected to support local Educators, Hoeft said. Reallocated State and Federal dollars will provide about one-third of the funding needed to support the new Unit-based Educators, in addition to available matching money from the State of Illinois.

Still, he said, local support from County Boards and other funders is as important as ever.

"State and Federal dollars are allocated on the basis of local support, so maintaining the local funding is absolutely crucial to the survival of Extension programs at the Unit level," Hoeft said. For every dollar invested at the county level, local Extension programs are supported by at least $3 in additional state and federal funding.

The official start date of the new Educators will be July 1, 2011, the beginning of a new fiscal year for the State of Illinois and the U of I.

"In some cases, they may be able to start meeting people and planning programs in their new Units before July 1," Hoeft said. "For example, some of our Youth Development Educators may be involved in planning some summer 4-H activities. In many other cases, Educators already were on staff in at least one of the counties they will now serve, so some of those transitions may begin more quickly, too."

The official July 1 start date will allow Educators who have previous programming commitments to see those through to completion in the next few months, before they move on to their new responsibilities in another location, Hoeft said.

Extension staff members with Master's degrees were eligible to apply for Educator and County Director positions, which were filled on a competitive basis. Statewide, about two-dozen Educator positions were not filled during the internal hiring process. Those positions will be advertised nationally, and searches will be conducted in the coming months.

Extension County Directors for the new multi-county Units were named in October, and they started in their new roles on November 1. Local Civil Service staffing will be addressed in early 2011, Hoeft said.

A complete listing of the new multi-county Extension Units, their County Directors, and Educators follows:

University of Illinois Extension Educators

Effective July 1, 2011

Listed by Extension Unit

(OPEN indicates that the position is unfilled at this time, and an external search will be conducted. Some Educators' appointments will be shared by adjacent Units, as indicated by percent-time figures.)

Jo Daviess/Stephenson/Winnebago - Margaret Larson, County Director

Kim Christman: 4-H Youth

Sandra Stiles: 4-H Youth Metro

Jay Solomon: Environmental and Energy Stewardship

Maurice Ogutu: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

OPEN: Horticulture – 50 percent time

OPEN: Nutrition and Wellness

Boone/DeKalb/Ogle – Vicky Broos, County Director

Johnna Jennings: 4-H Youth

Peggy Doty: Environmental and Energy Stewardship

Ellen Phillips: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

OPEN: Horticulture – 50 perfect time

OPEN: Nutrition and Wellness

Lake/McHenry – James Reeves, County Director

Karen Chan: Consumer Economics

OPEN: 4-H Youth and 4-H for children of military families

OPEN: Horticulture

Carroll/Lee/Whiteside – Joe Schwamberger, County Director

Janice McCoy: Family Life – 50 percent time

Terry Feinberg: Economic and Small Business Development

Diane Baker: 4-H Youth

Peter Chege: Horticulture

Bill Lindenmier: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

DuPage/Kane/Kendall – Sandra Davis, County Director

Laura Barr: Nutrition and Wellness

Deanna Roby: 4-H Youth

Richard Hentschel: Horticulture

Cook – Willene Buffet, County Director

Molly Hofer: Family Life

Rhonda Hardy: Community Development

Rosalind Dale: Leadership and Local Government

Leonard Parker: 4-H Youth and Youth Metro

Marilu Andon: 4-H Youth Metro

Nancy Pollard: Horticulture

Greg Stack: Horticulture

Ron Wolford: Horticulture

Jennifer McCaffrey: Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program*

Jacqueline Wilson: Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program*

Henry/Mercer/Rock Island/Stark – Tony Franklin, County Director

Jennifer Garner: Community Development

Cheryl Geitner: 4-H Youth and 4-H for children of military families

Martha Smith: Horticulture

Janice McCoy: Family Life – 50 percent time

OPEN: Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program*

Bureau/LaSalle/Marshall/Putnam – Jill Guynn, County Director

Rachel Schwarzendruber: Family Life

Ancilla Parducci: 4-H Youth and 4-H Youth Metro

OPEN: Horticulture

Grundy/Kankakee/Will – Beth LaPlante, County Director

Chelsey Byers: Family Life

Drusilla Banks: Nutrition and Wellness

John Davis: 4-H Youth

James Theuri: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

Henderson/Knox/McDonough/Warren – Lisa Fulkerson, County Director

Carrie McKillip: Community Development

Tessa Hobbs-Curley: 4-H Youth

Kyle Cecil: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

OPEN: Horticulture

Fulton/Mason/Peoria/Tazewell – Earl Allen, County Director

Kathleen Brown: Leadership and Local Government

Judy Schmidt: 4-H Youth and 4-H Youth Metro

Rhonda Ferree: Horticulture – 50 percent time

Matt Montgomery: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

Margaret Cover: Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program*

OPEN: Nutrition & Wellness – 50 percent time

Livingston/McLean/Woodford – Cynthia Baer, County Director

Kathy Sweedler: Consumer Economics – 50 percent time

Cheri Burcham: Family Life –33 percent time

Jenna Hogan: Nutrition and Wellness

Cathy Blunier: 4-H Youth

Sandy McGhee: 4-H Youth Metro

Paul Mariman: Local Food Systems and Small Farms – 20 percent time

OPEN: Community Development

OPEN: Horticulture

Champaign/Ford/Iroquois/Vermilion – Ginger Boas, County Director

Kathryn Sweedler: Consumer Economics – 50 percent time

Cheri Burcham: Family Life – 34 percent time

Jamie Kleiss: 4-H Youth

Sandy Mason: Horticulture

Steve Ayers: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

Zachary Kennedy: Community Development

OPEN: Nutrition and Wellness

Adams/Brown/Hancock/Pike/Schuyler – OPEN: County Director

Brenda Derrick: Nutrition and Wellness

Shelby Crow: Community Development

Earl Bricker: Leadership and Local Government

Sheri Merry: 4-H Youth

Mike Roegge: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

Calhoun/Cass/Greene/Morgan/Scott – Aaron Dufelmeier, County Director

April Littig: 4-H Youth

Rhonda Ferree: Horticulture – 50 percent time

Duane Friend: Environmental and Energy Stewardship

OPEN: Community Development

Logan/Menard/Sangamon – John Fulton, County Director

Virginia Kuo: 4-H Youth and 4-H Youth Metro

Jennifer Fishburn: Horticulture

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

OPEN: Nutrition & Wellness – 50 percent time

DeWitt/Macon/Piatt – Doug Harlan, County Director

Lynnette Mensah: Nutrition and Wellness – 50 percent time

Sherry Fulton: 4-H Youth

Amy Leman: 4-H Youth Metro

Jennifer Nelson: Horticulture

Paul Mariman: Local Food Systems and Small Farms – 80 percent time

Phyllis Herring: Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program*

Christian/Jersey/Macoupin/Montgomery – Denise Kistner, County Director

Amanda Cole: Community Development

Peggy Hampton: 4-H Youth

Gary Letterly: Environmental and Energy Stewardship

Stephanie Porter: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

OPEN: Nutrition & Wellness – 50 percent time

Coles/Cumberland/Douglas/Moultrie/Shelby – Jim Looft, County Director

Cheri Burcham: Family Life 33 percent time

Lynnette Mensah: Nutrition and Wellness – 50 percent time

Dana Homann: 4-H Youth

David Shiley: Local Foods and Small Farms

Clark/Crawford/Edgar – Stacy Larson, County Director

Mary Liz Wright: Nutrition and Wellness

Tiffany Macke: Community Development

Jessie Crews: 4-H Youth

OPEN: Horticulture – 50 percent time

Clay/Effingham/Fayette/Jasper – Rachelle Hollinshead, County Director

Ken Larimore: Economic and Small Business Development

Judy Bingman: 4-H Youth

OPEN: Environmental and Energy Stewardship – 50 percent time

OPEN: Nutrition and Wellness – 50 percent time

Madison/Monroe/St. Clair – Pam Jacobs, County Director

Nora Feuquay: Community Development

Susan Hayden: 4-H Youth and 4-H for children of military families

Steve Wagoner: 4-H Youth Metro

Elizabeth Wahle: Horticulture – 50 percent time

Linda Crawl Jackson: Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program*

OPEN: Environmental and Energy Stewardship

Bond/Clinton/Marion/Jefferson/Washington – OPEN: County Director

Peter Morhardt: 4-H Youth

Elizabeth Wahle: Horticulture – 50 percent time

OPEN: Local Foods and Small Farms

OPEN: Family Life – 50 percent time

Gallatin/Hamilton/Hardin/Pope/Saline/Wayne/White – OPEN: County Director

Susan Odum: Community Development – 33 percent time

OPEN: 4-H Youth

OPEN: Horticulture – 50 percent time

OPEN: Nutrition and Wellness – 50 percent time

Edwards/Lawrence/Richland/Wabash – Joel Brumley, County Director

Ann Emken: Economic and Small Business Development

Leah Miller: 4-H Youth

OPEN: Horticulture – 50 percent time

OPEN: Family Life – 50 percent time

Franklin/Jackson/Perry/Randolph/Williamson – Julie Mumbower, County Director

Susan Odum: Community Development – 33 percent time

Michelle Bisel: 4-H Youth

John Pike: Local Food Systems and Small Farms

OPEN: Horticulture – 50 percent time

OPEN: Nutrition & Wellness – 50 percent time

Alexander/Johnson/Massac/Pulaski/Union – Jody Johnson, County Director

Susan Odum: Community Development – 34 percent time

Patricia Faughn: 4-H Youth

*Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program positions are federally funded.

Educators with Statewide Responsibilities

4-H Educators

Andy Davis: 4-H Memorial Camp

Dan Dawson: 4-H Shooting Sports

Dan Jennings: 4-H Animal Sciences

Commercial Agriculture

Robert Bellm: Crop Sciences, Brownstown Ag Research Center

Dennis Bowman: Crop Sciences Research and Education Center (South Farms, Urbana)

Russell Higgins: Crop Sciences, Northern IL Ag Research Center

Teresa Steckler: Animal Sciences, Dixon Springs Ag Center

OPEN: Crop Sciences, Northwestern Illinois Ag Research Center

OPEN: Animal Sciences, Orr Ag Research Center



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