Montza Williams, Ph.D., will serve as the 4-H program director for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, effective Jan. 1, 2020.
The Texas 4-H program is the youth development component of AgriLife Extension, part of the Texas A&M University System. Williams, who is currently located in Overton, will relocate to College Station for his new position.
As program director, Williams will provide supervision for the 4-H unit, including leadership for the statewide Texas 4-H Youth Development Program. He will collaborate with other units across the agency to foster interdisciplinary approaches and provide vision and leadership toward expanding 4-H enrollment in both urban and rural areas of the state, with particular emphasis on including underserved youth.
“Dr. Williams is the perfect fit to lead the 4-H Youth Development Program,” said Courtney Dodd, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension associate director – health, families and youth. “Based upon his experience, the relationships he has built within and outside of the agency, as well as his creativity in youth programming, I am confident he will foster an environment conducive for program growth and expansion.”
Williams is a longtime member of AgriLife Extension, serving the agency for more than 30 years, first as a county agent in both Cass and Gregg counties.
In 1993, Williams joined the 4-H faculty team and has held various positions of increasing responsibility since then. He served as an AgriLife Extension program specialist for the agency’s 22-county District 5 and was regional program director for 4-H for the East Region. Most recently, he has served as an assistant professor and AgriLife Extension youth development specialist coordinating Texas 4-H leadership and citizenship programs for Texas 4-H.
Among the main programs conducted under Williams’ leadership has been the Global Leadership Opportunities Beyond Education, GLOBE, cultural experience program, which was recently recognized nationally with an Excellence in Global Citizenship Programming award by the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents association.
GLOBE is a two-tiered citizenship and leadership program for intermediate and senior 4-H youth designed to engage them in taking humanitarian action in their own communities by providing a better understanding of the challenges of people in other parts of the world, especially those experiencing hunger and poverty.
Williams also played a key leadership role in the development of the new LEAD — Learn, Empower, Apply and Develop — Academy held in conjunction with Texas 4-H Roundup. Through this program, highschool-age 4-H members have an opportunity to learn about college opportunities and community leadership while gaining valuable life skills by participating in a real-life college setting.
He also served as an adviser to the Texas 4-H Council and was on the team that developed 4-H Explore Project Books and the Quality 4-H Club Experience online toolkit.
Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in agricultural education from Texas A&M University. He earned his doctorate in agricultural education from Texas A&M and Texas Tech University.
“It’s a privilege and honor to be named as program director,” Williams said. “Texas 4-H offers excellent educational opportunities for young Texans who have a variety of interests. We will continue to identify the needs and interests of youth as we work to provide relevant programming that addresses those topics. I’ll be working with a great team of people who love what they do and who care about young people and our future.”