New 4-H/Extension director selected

Kirsten Holt
Kirsten Holt

(Posted June 4, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

She hails from the south, but soon will be a resident of the Buckeye State.

Kirsten M. Holt, a resident of Auburn, Ala., is Madison County’s new full-time 4-H educator and Ohio State University Extension director. She replaces Janet Wasko Myers who took a position with Clark County Extension.

“She’ll be a great fit for Madison County. She comes with 10 years of experience in 4-H,” said Julie Fox, central regional director for OSU Extension.

Holt was one of 16 applicants for the position. A local interview committee interviewed the top five. The other four candidates hailed from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

“We had a great candidate pool. Kirsten’s education, experience and energy really made the difference,” Fox said.

Holt was born in Birmingham, Ala., grew up in Tuscaloosa, and was active in a horse 4-H club as a youth. She earned a bachelor’s degree in animal and dairy sciences and a master’s degree in equine exercise physiology in 2000 and 2006, respectively, both from Mississippi State University.

Since 2004, Holt has worked as a 4-H foundation agent for two counties through Auburn University.

“I’ve been with Alabama Extension for 10-and-a-half years. I saw the Madison County position as a nice opportunity to grow and experience something different,” she said.

In her previous position, Holt facilitated in-school, after-school and community-based 4-H programs. In her new position, she will oversee all of Madison County’s 4-H programming, as well as Extension services as a whole.

She will work with a larger network of volunteers than she did at her last job. She will also experience a county fair on a more intense level than she ever has.

“In the south, the fair system isn’t like it is in Ohio,” she said. “I’m super excited to get around a county with a big fair and see how Extension weaves into that.”

While Extension operations differ between Alabama and Ohio, Holt says they share the same mission.

“It’s nice to see we are all in it for the same goal: to promote youth as leaders and set them up with skills to take them through life,” she said.

Holt’s first day on the job is June 15. She will go through an orientation on the OSU campus in Columbus, then go straight to 4-H Camp June 16-17. Prior to the Madison County Fair, which is July 12-18, she will get to know people in the community.

In addition to Fox, the local interview committee included: Les Barnhart, 4-H key leader and club advisor; Darrell Champer, senior fair board president; David Dhume, county commissioner; Arlene Duffey, Extension staff; Matt Edgington, 4-H Committee president; Mike Estadt, interim Extension director; Judy Gallimore, key leader and 4-H Committee past president; Anna Henry, 4-H advisor and key leader; and Christy Leeds, Union County 4-H Extension educator.

Other Extension positions

Madison County Extension also is getting a new full-time agriculture and natural resource educator. Interviews are slated for June 30. It’s been several years since the county had someone in this position.

“We’re also exploring the option of adding a part-time SNAP-Ed program assistant to serve Madison County,” Fox said.

SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program) focuses on nutrition education for low-income adults who receive food assistance benefits. If approved, the person hired for the job would split his or her time between Madison and Pickaway counties.

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