Michigan 4-H Foundation

MSU Extension names new leadership for children and youth programming and initiatives

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Michigan State University Extension announced the appointment of Amy Bonomi as the new director of the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute (CYI) and Erica Tobe as associate director, effective May 1. They will work closely with Jake DeDecker, who was appointed Michigan 4-H state leader Nov. 16.

In this new leadership structure, Bonomi will lead a visioning process that will help CYI to expand partnerships, build resources, support leadership development, and measure and communicate impacts. Tobe will focus on the day-to-day oversight of CYI educators and specialists, and communicate the impact of their work to stakeholders. DeDecker will maintain primary leadership for Michigan 4-H, overseeing 4-H staffing while supporting and further elevating strong 4-H programming across the state. As state 4-H leader, DeDecker will continue to serve as a Michigan 4-H Foundation trustee and secretary to the board.

Since 2013, Bonomi has served as the chair of the MSU Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) in the MSU College of Social Science. She served as a special adviser to the MSU Office of the Provost on the experiences of faculty and academic staff members and founded  the Women’s Leadership Institute, a preeminent source for supporting women in their leadership aspirations through evidence-based curricula and networking opportunities. Bonomi also serves as associate editor of the Journal of Women’s Health and writes a violence prevention blog for the Huffington Post.

Tobe has worked in varying roles with MSU Extension for the past two decades. She was a children, youth and families agent in Branch County, a 4-H agent in Washtenaw County and, most recently, a specialist with the financial and homeownership education team. In 2013, Tobe was recruited by Bonomi as a faculty member for HDFS, and in 2016, she was appointed as the graduate program director for the department.

DeDecker joined MSU Extension in 2006 as the 4-H program leader responsible for 4-H STEM, small animal and agriculture programs. He served as MSU Extension associate state 4-H leader beginning in 2014 and was also named CYI associate director in 2017. In February of 2018, DeDecker was appointed acting state 4-H leader. He took the permanent position last fall.

CYI is one of four institutes within MSU Extension. It focuses on children and youth programming from ages 0 to 19, including 4-H. CYI programs are concentrated in five core areas: capacity building for youth development programs, career exploration and workforce development, child and family development, enhancing science literacy, and leadership and civic engagement.