Georgia 4-H has selected Melanie Biersmith as the new state 4-H leader. Effective Nov. 1, Biersmith is the ninth state leader in the organization’s 118-year history.
The state 4-H leader provides strategic vision in response to the changing needs of Georgia's youth and works to support diversity and inclusiveness in youth programming.
Georgia 4-H operates under the scope of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and reaches more than 240,000 youth in a typical program year.
Biersmith most recently served as the associate state 4-H leader for facilities and residential programs for Georgia 4-H, where she managed operations and personnel at all six Georgia 4-H centers, plus coordination of the Georgia 4-H Environmental Education program and summer camp program.
Her career with UGA Extension began in 2003 as the environmental education coordinator on Jekyll Island. She then served as the director of Georgia 4-H at Camp Jekyll and later as the Extension 4-H specialist for science and environmental education until 2018.
Biersmith holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgia College and State University and a master’s degree in science education from the University of Georgia. She resides in Morgan County with her husband, Andy, her daughter, Drew, and her son, Sam.
“It is inspiring to see the potential in every young person,” Biersmith said. “I appreciate the opportunity to watch their development and see how positive youth development experiences guide them on their journey to adulthood.”
In her role as state 4-H leader, Biersmith will also oversee recruitment and development of 4-H faculty and staff, advocate for extramural funding to support faculty scholarship, and champion the success Georgia 4-H facilities.
Her leadership will impact in-school, after-school and non-traditional delivery models facilitated by approximately 120 county Extension agents, 225 educators, program assistants and AmeriCorps members, as well as thousands of volunteers.
The state 4-H leader guides Georgia 4-H towards the vision and mission of helping youth thrive.
“Melanie will ensure the continued success and stability of Georgia 4-H while also providing a transformative vision for the future of Georgia 4-H,” said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for Extension with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. For more information about Georgia 4-H, contact your local UGA county Extension office or visit georgia4h.org.