The director of the Montana 4-H is serving as interim director of the Montana State University Extension while a national search is conducted to fill the post.
Jill Martz takes over the post held by Doug Steele who is going to Texas A&M University to head up the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the Texas equivalent of the MSU Extension.
Montana 4-H is part of the MSU Extension program, and Martz served as director since 2008, overseeing what is the largest out-of-school youth development program in the state, reaching about 20,000 youth in all of the state's 56 counties each year.
"As 4-H director, Jill has traveled to every corner of Montana and is familiar with our many Extension offices and personnel across the state," noted MSU President Waded Cruzado when appointed Martz. "Jill has also been part of the MSU Extension leadership team and is well versed in the organization's mission, its challenges and its opportunities. She is the best person to lead MSU Extension through a seamless transition as we conduct a national search."
Martz holds a bachelor's degree in education from Bowling Green State University, as master's in education form Middle Tennessee State University, and a doctorate in human ecology from the University of Tennessee.
She worked as a teacher for 10 years before joining the University of Tennessee Extension in 1988 to work in its 4-H program, and worked in either 4-H or Extension programs in Tennessee until coming to Montana in 2006 as a 4-H curriculum specialist. She was appointed MSU Extension director in 2008.
MSU Extension is a statewide educational outreach network that applies research-based university resources to practical needs identified by Montana citizens. It has offices in all 56 of the state's counties and on five Indian reservations in Montana.
The service is the primary connection between Montana farmers and ranchers and the latest research information generated by MSU scientists working to make the industry more efficient.