Cooperative Extension seeks new director as organization celebrates 100th anniversary

Posted 9 February 2017 at 11:17 am

Provided photo: Tim Kirby (in back), board member for the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, led a group in canning tomatoes.

Press Release, Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County

KNOWLESVILLE – As the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension rings in a new year and its 100th year anniversary celebration, another important task is at hand – finding the next leader of their organization.

The Board of Directors is actively seeking an Executive Director to lead them into the second century of extending research-based knowledge into local communities.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of Cornell Cooperative Extension, as some of the core programs of our mission have seen a resurgence in popularity, as people recognize and value the relevance of agriculture, local foods, nutrition, youth development, and other strong programs traditionally offered by our organization,” said Deborah Roberts, interim executive director.

Roberts is in a unique position to see the changes.  As former executive director, she has seen the changes over the years.

“Our traditional programs, such as support to the agriculture community remains, but we have become more innovative in the ways we deliver education and reach the whole population.”

One recent successful innovation has been the addition of a commercial kitchen on the fairgrounds that can be used to support large events as well as serve as a venue for teaching.

This fall, board member Tim Kirby taught a group how to can tomatoes, a skill that younger generations have not previously had a chance to hone.

In addition the Master Food Preservers, Master Gardeners, the 4-H Cooking Club, Expanded Food and Nutrition Program, and other clubs and community groups all utilize the kitchen for preservation, cooking, and other programming in new ways.

Part of the celebration of the centennial will happen during the Orleans County 4-H Fair. The occasion will be marked with two nights of fireworks, strolling acts, and special live animal performances.

This year will also introduce new contests and events for youth and adults, including a quilt show. These new elements and traditions like livestock shows, delicious foods, and connecting with friends and family will make the week a true celebration of the 100 years of successful programming and the beginning of the next 100 years.

While the community recognizes the strong alignment between CCE and the county fair, numerous other elements are needed for an executive director to be successful.

“Our leader needs to connect us to campus, continue to grow our programs, manage the facilities, and focusing on revenue generation,” states Ed Neal, chairman of the board of directors.  “The next executive director will be inheriting a terrific team of staff members, an informed and dedicated board of directors, and an opportunity to facilitate community conversation about the future of Cooperative Extension in Orleans County.”

Filling the position is the agency’s top priority this year, Neal said, and several local residents have already expressed interest in the job, which carries a $58,000 salary and requires a Master’s Degree.

For more information on the Executive Director position, please visit

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