Susan Kelly to Oversee Extension County Operations

People working outside a hoop house in shadow

Susan Kelly has been hired as the NC State Extension Assistant Director for County Operations. Her primary responsibility will be to oversee NC State’s operations at 101 local N.C. Cooperative Extension centers.

Kelly will provide strategic guidance and leadership to Extension’s 700-plus experts working out of offices in every county of North Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokee.

Extension serves as a bridge between North Carolinians and our state’s preeminent research institution, NC State University. With a vast network of partnerships, Extension puts science into action, delivering practical solutions to local issues across the state.

“I am pleased to announce the hiring of Susan Kelly for this important position,” said Dr. Richard Bonanno, NC State Extension director. “Extension exists to implement research-based knowledge to the benefit of all North Carolinians, and to transform science into everyday solutions that improve their lives and grow our state. Susan understands our mission and will work hard to accomplish our goals in communities statewide.”

Extension staff and volunteers partner with local governments to support agriculture, horticulture, conservation and environmental protection, nutrition and health, 4-H youth development programs, and a variety of other consumer, youth and economic concerns across North Carolina.

Kelly has nearly 10 years of experience serving the people of North Carolina through Extension. She has been District Extension Director for the North Central District since 2018. Before that she was County Extension Director in Richmond County, accepting the position in 2013. She was a county Extension director in Florida for eight years prior to accepting the position in Richmond County, and also has experience as an agriscience teacher and administrator for Orange County Schools.

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with our dedicated, hardworking staff across the state,” Kelly said. “My experience as a county director and district director has given me insight into the needs and challenges at the local level. I will make sure all employees feel heard, appreciated and valued, and I’ll work to ensure that all county employees have the needed technical training, professional development and experiences to be successful.”

Her honors include a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals in 2019, the Creative Excellence in Extension Award from the Joint Council of Extension Professionals in 2017, and the 2016 Carol M. Birckhead Outstanding County Director Award from NC State.