Director with 25+ Years Experience Working for UT Extension Will Oversee 33 Counties
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Kelli Roberson, who has worked for University of Tennessee Extension for 27 years, is the new director of the Eastern Region, UT Extension Dean Ashley Stokes has announced.
Since 2008, Roberson has served as director of UT Extension in Cumberland County, where she began working for UT Extension in 1996 as an Extension assistant providing programming in family and consumer sciences. She also has served as interim director of UT Extension in Bledsoe County since March 1, 2023.
Her new appointment over the Eastern Region, based in Knoxville, begins January 1, 2024.
“Our Eastern Region is already recognized for exceptional programming due to the outstanding Extension professionals throughout its 33 counties. I am confident that Kelli Roberson will not only support continued success but also will foster our culture within the region of collaboration, relevancy, dedication, and excellence,” Stokes said.
UT Extension has an office in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties with Extension agents dedicated to these main program areas: family and consumer sciences (FCS), agriculture and natural resources, community and economic development, and 4-H and youth development. As director of Cumberland County’s Extension office, Roberson oversees five employees and serves as the county’s FCS agent, providing research-based education to Tennesseans in the areas of family, food, health, home and money management. Roberson also has served as a 4-H agent.
During her time as director in Cumberland County, she has worked to increase the county’s budget and funding, which allowed her to hire an additional agent, and she partnered with Tennessee State University to also add another TSU agent in the Crossville office. As the county’s FCS agent, she has managed more than 200 members of Family and Community Education clubs and eagerly recruits new members. Cumberland County clubs have the largest memberships in the region. These programs have won national awards from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Roberson was presented the distinguished service award from the national and state associations in 2015.
“I have learned much in the past 27 years in my Extension work, but the most important thing I have learned is we are a people-centered organization throughout Extension. I have admiration for our leaders and trust the direction they have guided us in. Through those lessons, I have learned a great deal about how to problem solve, direct and provide guidance. I am forever grateful for my experience with my colleagues at every level of our organization. We are the gateway to the university within our counties, and our successful programs and partnerships make us unique. I am excited about the opportunity to work at the region level helping us continue to be the best region in the state,” Roberson said.
Roberson is a Tennessee native, born in Pikeville. She continues to enjoy working on her family’s farm. Roberson earned her bachelor’s degree in home economics with an emphasis in nutrition from Tennessee Tech and her master’s degree in agriculture and agricultural sciences from UT Knoxville.
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is comprised of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension. Through its land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach, the Institute touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. to Tennesseans and beyond. utia.tennessee.edu.