Michigan 4-H Foundation

Lisa Bottomley and Jodi Schulz take leadership of MSU Extension children and youth programs; Schulz joins Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees 

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After a national search, Lisa Bottomley and Jodi Schulz took the helm as co-directors of the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute (CYI) on Jan. 1, 2024. Previously, Bottomley and Schulz had been serving in interim associate institute director roles for CYI. They replace Julie Chapin, who will continue to provide support to the leadership transition and assist MSU Extension with special projects and initiatives until she retires June 30. 

Lisa Bottomley and Jodi Schulz.

Quentin Tyler, director of MSU Extension, said that Bottomley and Schulz are well poised to lead CYI, which is home to Michigan 4-H and all MSU Extension programming for children and youth from birth to 19, as well as the adults and families that support them. 

“Both have a long history with MSU Extension and working for the betterment of young people,” he said. “Their in-depth knowledge of the organization as well as their track records of helping young children and youth thrive in Michigan makes them a perfect fit for these important positions.” 

MSU Extension aims to provide every Michigan child with the tools and skills necessary to lead a healthy and productive life using an experiential, hands-on learning model. That includes training volunteers, parents and other caregivers in best practices to support young people throughout their lives. As co-directors, Bottomley and Schulz are responsible for initiating and coordinating educational programming and applied research programs in the areas of early childhood education and youth development in all 83 Michigan counties. This includes creating and implementing a strategic vision for the institute, working closely with the 150 professionals who provide programming in this area. 

In her role, Bottomley supervises academic and administrative staff, providing day-to-day leadership for administrative operations, educational programs and the translation of CYI’s vision into action. She also oversees and provides leadership to staff as they respond to emerging issues, provides advice about implementation of programs, and creates and strengthens linkages among other core programming areas in MSU Extension as well as aligned research and education programs at MSU. 

“I am excited I get to work with our talented staff to bring critical programming to children, youth, parents and caregivers throughout Michigan,” Bottomley said. “I am looking forward to working with our current partners and developing additional partnerships to enhance our programming and reach new audiences.” 

Bottomley has had increasingly more responsibility with MSU Extension since she began as a 4-H youth-mentoring educator in Ottawa County in 2000. Since then, she has become a respected expert on youth mentoring and volunteer management among national and international audiences. She has a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Central Michigan University (CMU), where she continues to be engaged as a member of the CMU alumni association board of directors. She received a Master of Arts degree in youth development from MSU in 2009. 

Schulz, in addition to being CYI co-director, also fills the role of state leader for Michigan 4-H Youth Development, overseeing supervision of 4-H staff throughout the state. She is responsible for statewide 4-H program development and growth, oversight of 4-H events and 4-H online offerings as well as working with the Michigan 4-H Foundation. 

“I strongly believe in the Children and Youth Institute’s mission of empowering youth, individuals, families and communities through experiences that help them thrive in a complex world,” Schulz said. “I look forward to balancing the rich history of the institute and 4-H while also looking to the future as we position ourselves to be a cutting-edge resource for knowledge, research, programming and partnership.” 

Schulz joined MSU Extension in 2002. She helped develop the 4-H SPIN (special interest) club model for Michigan and later assisted with the creation and implementation of a centralized volunteer management system. She earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture and natural resources communications from MSU in 2002, and a Master of Science in child, youth and family studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009. 

Schulz joins Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees 

As state leader for Michigan 4-H, Schulz also retains a seat on the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees. On Jan. 1, she took over the role as the Michigan 4-H Foundation secretary, a position she holds indefinitely by virtue of her position as state leader. Michigan 4-H Foundation trustees are volunteers who manage foundation policies and operations and are community advocates for ongoing and increasing support for 4-H. They are also charged with overseeing the activities of foundation staff and working on committees developed to facilitate foundation operations.