The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has announced hiring new agents and program personnel in districts across the state.

AgriLife Extension employs county agents to serve every Texas county. These county agents are the agency’s connection with the people in communities and provide hands-on education and programming based on scientific research.

A complete county agents list can be found at https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/counties/.

The following are the individuals hired in the AgriLife Extension districts and the county agent positions they will fill:

Disaster Assessment and Recovery, DAR, agents

Danny Hale, a smiling man in a light gray jacket
Danny Hale is a Disaster Assessment and Recovery agent in Disaster District 23, Temple. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Danny Hale, Disaster Assessment and Recovery, Disaster District 23, Temple. Hale, of College Station, earned his bachelor’s in rangeland ecology and management from Texas A&M University. He spent seven years in the U.S. Army before attending Texas A&M and worked two years as an independent rangeland consultant after graduation. Hale participated in 4-H shooting sports and showed Boer goats with the Brazos Valley Boer Goat Association while growing up. While at Texas A&M, he competed on the Texas A&M Plant ID Team and the Undergraduate Range Management Exam Team. In his new position, he said he is most passionate about helping Texas communities become more resilient in the face of disasters.

Rodney Walters, a man in a white shirt with a closed smile
Rodney Walters is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Disaster Assessment and Recovery agent in Disaster District 4A, Granary. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Rodney Walters, Disaster Assessment and Recovery, Disaster District 4A, Granary. Walters, of Redlands, California, earned his bachelor’s in criminal justice at Chapman University, a master’s in military history from American Military University, and a master’s in homeland security/public health preparedness from Penn State University. He previously served as a deputy sheriff and a police officer and taught high school courses in criminal justice, homeland security, criminal investigations and law enforcement occupations. Walters spent 31 years as a search and rescue team member and is a member of the federal Region Nine Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team with hurricane, tsunami and earthquake disaster deployments and COVID deployments. Walters said he always seeks volunteers to assist with program ideas and presentations.

New county agents

District 2, headquartered in Lubbock

Ashleigh Hillemeyer a smiling woman in a black shirt
Ashleigh Hillemeyer is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 4-H and youth development agent in Floyd County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Ashleigh Hillemeyer, 4-H and youth development, Floyd County. Hillemeyer, of Crane, earned her bachelor’s in agricultural education at West Texas A&M University. She spent the last two years as an agricultural science teacher with Lockney Independent School District. Hillemeyer said she is passionate about working with the youth of Floyd County to develop their leadership and personal growth qualities. “My career goal as an AgriLife Extension county agent is to make an impact on every student I come across in Floyd County because they are our future,” she said.

J.J. Caswell, AgriLife Extension agent, in black suit
J. J. Caswell is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent in Mitchell County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

J. J. Caswell, agriculture and natural resources, Mitchell County. Caswell, of Garden City, earned his bachelor’s in agriculture at Tarleton State University and master’s in agricultural education at Texas Tech University. Caswell spent 15 years in the agriculture chemical and fertilizer business before teaching at Western Texas College and Roscoe Collegiate High School. Caswell is passionate about agriculture and working with youth. “I am excited about working with the community and the youth of Mitchell County,” he said.

Smiling woman, Brooke Walser, is new AgriLife Extension agent in Lubbock County
Brooke Walser is the new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in Lubbock County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Brooke Walser, Better Living for Texans, Lubbock County. Walser, of Canadian, earned a bachelor’s in agricultural communications at Texas Tech University. She is currently pursuing a master’s in family and consumer sciences education at Texas Tech as well. Walser completed a family and community health internship with AgriLife Extension in Hale County during the summer and fall of 2023. Walser participated in 4-H for a few years in Hemphill County, where she competed in food challenge and nutrition quiz bowl. She said she is passionate about helping others and about nutrition, “so being a Better Living for Texans agent is the perfect job for me.”

District 3, headquartered in Vernon

Cory Whitaker is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent in Childress County.
Cory Whitaker is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent in Childress County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Cory Whitaker, agriculture and natural resources, Childress County. Whitaker, of Paducah, earned his bachelor’s in agriculture education at West Texas A&M University. He taught in Tulia, Memphis and Paducah and worked at Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle Compress. Growing up, Whitaker participated in both 4-H and FFA, showing cattle and hogs. He and his family maintain a small cattle herd and run a custom hay business. He said his commitment to agriculture and the community remains strong. “I joined AgriLife Extension to share my passion for agriculture. I hope my work helps farmers and ranchers optimize their practices and manage their resources sustainably. I want to educate and empower the next generation to ensure the future of agriculture remains strong and vibrant.”

District 6, headquartered in Fort Stockton

Ashley Cisneros is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in El Paso County.
Ashley Cisneros is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in El Paso County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Ashley Cisneros, Better Living for Texans, El Paso County. Cisneros, of El Paso, earned her bachelor’s in biological sciences with a minor in women and gendered studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. She would like to continue her education in nutrition research to deepen her understanding of the field. She spent the past three years working for El Paso Independent School District. Cisneros said she is passionate about biochemistry and working alongside her community to help them achieve a healthy lifestyle. “After changing my own lifestyle, I wanted to join AgriLife Extension to help educate others in nutrition so they could sustain a healthier lifestyle,” she said.

District 7, headquartered in San Angelo

Colton Ripley is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 4-H and youth development agent in Burnet County.
Colton Ripley is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 4-H and youth development agent in Burnet County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Colton Ripley, 4-H and youth development, Burnet County. Ripley, of Franklin, earned his bachelor’s in agricultural leadership from Oklahoma State University and is currently enrolled in the agricultural leadership program at Texas A&M for his master’s degree. Ripley spent last summer completing an internship with AgriLife Extension in Burleson County. He grew up in 4-H, showing sheep and goats competitively. He is passionate about youth programs and wants to give back to his community. “I am most passionate about working with the youth in my county on their various projects and helping them succeed in their areas of interest,” Ripley said.

Ryder Ross is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent for Schleicher County.
Ryder Ross is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent for Schleicher County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Ryder Ross, agriculture and natural resources, Schleicher County. Ross, of Brady, earned an associate’s degree from South Plains College and a bachelor’s at Texas Tech University. He spent the last year as a herdsman for a show sheep operation. Ross grew up in 4-H showing sheep and judging livestock. He said he is passionate about the livestock industry and helping youth find their role in production agriculture.

District 9, headquartered in College Station

Kimberly McNair is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in Liberty County.
Kimberly McNair is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in Liberty County.(Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Kimberly McNair, Better Living for Texans, Liberty County. McNair, of Moss Point, Mississippi, earned a bachelor’s in health and leisure services at Rust College. She spent the last four years working in a support role for families and early learning providers. McNair said she grew up around Extension services in Mississippi, where her aunt was a county director for over 40 years. “I am most passionate about the community support it offers,” she said, “because, after all, your community is your home, too.”

District 11, headquartered in Corpus Christi

Emilee Bethke is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in Victoria County.
Emilee Bethke is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in Victoria County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Emilee Bethke, Better Living for Texans, Victoria County. Bethke, of Victoria, earned her bachelor’s in nutrition at Texas A&M University. She said she is eager to serve and work with the people in Victoria County. “I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of others and look forward to working with everyone,” Bethke said.

Kristi Gann is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service health agent in Refugio and Goliad counties.
Kristi Gann is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service health agent in Refugio and Goliad counties. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Kristi Gann, health, Refugio and Goliad counties. Gann, of Livingston, earned her bachelor’s in family and consumer sciences at Southwest Texas State University and became a certified chef at Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. She spent 18 years in public education as a family and consumer sciences and culinary arts teacher. Gann said she comes from a long line of passionate educators and is excited to embark on this new education path with AgriLife Extension. “I am looking forward to teaching techniques, sharing nutritional knowledge and inspiring culinary creativity to enhance overall health and well-being within Refugio and Goliad counties,” she said.

District 12, headquartered in Weslaco

Lisa Garza Gonzalez is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in Starr County.
Lisa Garza Gonzalez is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in Starr County.(Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Lisa Garza Gonzalez, Better Living for Texans, Starr County. Garza Gonzalez, of Roma, earned her associate’s in interdisciplinary studies and her bachelor’s in technology management at South Texas College. She has 15 years of working experience in higher education and 17 years of experience in secondary education. Garza Gonzalez earned a certification through the National Nutrition Certification Program offered by Utah State Extension Food Sense. With her experience in stakeholder engagement, she said she is well-prepared to contribute to her community in Starr County. “I hope to show people that making changes in your life can positively impact your future,” she said.

Brianna Gutierrez is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for 4-H and youth development agent in HidalgoCounty
Brianna Gutierrez is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for 4-H and youth development agent in Hidalgo County.(Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Brianna Gutierrez, 4-H and youth development, Hidalgo County. Gutierrez, of Edinburg, earned her bachelor’s in animal science at Texas A&M University. During her college years, she gained experience in various roles, including as a research assistant, a student microbiologist at the veterinary hospital and a student assistant at Integrated Breeders Services. Following graduation, Gutierrez continued her career in the cattle reproduction industry, joining Champion Genetics in Canton. She grew up in 4-H and FFA, showing breeding cattle and participating in shooting sports. “I am dedicated to leveraging my expertise and passion to empower the next generation of agricultural leaders and foster sustainable growth in our community,” Gutierrez said.

Diana Quintanilla is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in Hidalgo County.
Diana Quintanilla is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Better Living for Texans agent in Hidalgo County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Diana Quintanilla, Better Living for Texans, Hidalgo County Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. Quintanilla, of Weslaco, earned her bachelor’s in accounting and obtained her real estate brokerage licensing courses and mandatory continuing education courses from Texas A&M Commerce, as well as a master’s in business administration. Previously, she worked in public schools and was a real estate licensing instructor for South Texas College. She said her passion is advocating food and nutrition to underserved communities and expanding knowledge and outreach to make sure everyone receives the information. “I have seen firsthand how underserved communities can benefit from information about food and nutrition,” Quintanilla said. “Our job is to maximize our outreach to increase the number of people who can directly access it.”

Program specialists and project coordinators

Meredith Born is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Institute for Public Health project coordinator, Healthy South Texas, in Bryan-College Station.
Meredith Born is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Institute for Public Health project coordinator, Healthy South Texas, in Bryan-College Station. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Meredith Born, Texas A&M AgriLife Institute for Public Health project coordinator, Healthy South Texas, Bryan-College Station. Born, of Humble, earned her bachelor’s in animal science. Prior to joining the Healthy South Texas team, she was a project manager for the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation for five years. Born grew up participating in both 4-H and FFA programs showing cattle and judging livestock, as well holding various officer positions in both organizations. “I hope that my contributions to Healthy South Texas will assist in improving the health and wellness of all participants,” she said.

Samantha Corn has joined Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as an agricultural education program assistant in Bryan-College Station.
Samantha Corn has joined Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as an agricultural education program assistant in Bryan-College Station.(Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Samantha Corn, agricultural education program assistant, Bryan-College Station. Corn, of Franklin, earned her bachelor’s in agricultural communications and journalism from Texas A&M, where she was employed as a student worker for the Path to the Plate Program. Corn grew up on a commercial cattle ranch where she raised and showed market steers and was heavily involved in 4-H and FFA. She continued her livestock judging involvement as a part of the 2018-2020 Blinn College Livestock Judging team. “AgriLife Extension played a pivotal role in my upbringing,” Corn said. “I am very excited to play a small role in the professional development of agriculture and natural resources agents across Texas. I have always had a passion for this agency, especially the education opportunities it provides, and I am proud to now have a part in that.”

Joleen Frost is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service youth sheep and goat program associate in San Angelo.
Joleen Frost is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service youth sheep and goat program associate in San Angelo. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Joleen Frost, youth sheep and goat program associate, San Angelo. Frost, of Livingston, Montana, earned her bachelor’s in agriculture business and her Master of Business Administration at Angelo State University. She spent the last three years as a student assistant and student coordinator in the sheep and goat validation office in the District 7 AgriLife Extension office. Frost grew up in Montana’s 4-H and FFA programs, showing pigs, sheep and goats and participating in shooting sports and parliamentary procedure. She said she is passionate about youth in agriculture and developing leaders in the sheep and goat industry. “I joined AgriLife Extension because of the common goal to promote and advocate for agriculture and public well-being.”

Tina Hendon has joined the Texas Water Resources Institute as a program specialist in Bryan-College Station.
Tina Hendon has joined the Texas Water Resources Institute as a program specialist in Bryan-College Station.(Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Tina Hendon, Texas Water Resources Institute program specialist, Bryan-College Station. Hendon, of Johnson City, earned her bachelor’s in biology from Tarleton State University. She has worked in water and natural resource protection for over 30 years, including with applied research on land management impacts to water quality, management of regional watershed planning initiatives, and administration of various Clean Water Act programs. She is active with the National Watershed Coalition, Texas Association of Watershed Sponsors, Texas Riparian Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service water resources committee. As a program specialist, she will assist with watershed-based plans and deliver educational programs for watershed and water quality improvement.

Alex Kabli is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 4-H curriculum development program specialist in Bryan-College Station.
Alex Kabli is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 4-H curriculum development program specialist in Bryan-College Station.(Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Alex Kabli, 4-H curriculum development program specialist, Bryan-College Station. Kabli, of The Woodlands, earned her bachelor’s from Bethany College in West Virginia in interdisciplinary studies, focusing on history, art and business. She earned her master’s from St. Edward’s University and holds her Texas Administrator’s certificate from Lamar University. Kabli spent 13 years in public education as a teacher and gifted and talented coordinator. She has strong ties to 4-H as a camp counselor at 4-H Camp Middlesex in Massachusetts and as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the 4-H CAPITAL Project in Travis County. She said she is excited to dig into revising curriculum and developing new resources for youth. “I’m most passionate about developing hands-on learning experiences to make the best better,” Kabli said.

Tyson Keese is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service rangeland, wildlife and fisheries management program specialist in Overton.
Tyson Keese is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service rangeland, wildlife and fisheries management program specialist in Overton. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Tyson Keese, rangeland, wildlife and fisheries management program specialist, Overton. Keese, of San Antonio, earned his bachelor’s in wildlife and fisheries science at Texas A&M. This past summer, he completed an internship with a hunting and fishing club in East Texas, learning largemouth bass and white-tailed deer management skills. Keese said he grew up hunting and fishing in Central Texas and has carried that passion to his role in AgriLife Extension serving the people of Texas. “I’m most passionate about helping people catch bigger fish and more of them,” he said.

Dana Moreno is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service project coordinator for Healthy South Texas in Weslaco.
Dana Moreno is a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service project coordinator for Healthy South Texas in Weslaco. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Dana Moreno, project coordinator, Healthy South Texas, Weslaco. Moreno, of Mercedes, earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Victim Studies at Sam Houston State University in 2021 and her Master of Science in Sports Management at Sam Houston State University in 2022. Most recently Moreno worked for the City of Mercedes as part of the city marketing team. Before that, she worked for the athletic department at Sam Houston State University as a marketing assistant for four years and as an operations assistant for her internship semester. Moreno grew up in the 4-H system showing rabbits as well as competing in horticulture and photography. “I hope that my contributions to Healthy South Texas positively impact the community and can help improve the health and wellness of the participants,” she said.

Simeon Ross is the new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management program specialist in Wharton County.
Simeon Ross is the new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management program specialist in Wharton County. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Simeon Ross, integrated pest management program specialist, Wharton County. Ross, of Winnsboro, Louisiana, earned his bachelor’s in agriculture economics at Southern University in Baton Rouge and his master’s in entomology at Texas A&M. He has spent the past two and a half years as a master’s student at Texas A&M, beginning that journey at the Louisiana State University Ag Center in Winnsboro and Texas A&M as an integrated pest management student worker under the supervision of David Kerns, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension entomologist, state integrated pest management coordinator and assistant department head in the Department of Entomology. “I didn’t choose the bug life, but the bug life chose me,” he said.

Jessica Stott is a new Texas A&M AgrILife Extension Service nutrition program coordinator in El Paso.
Jessica Stott is a new Texas A&M AgrILife Extension Service nutrition program coordinator in El Paso. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Jessica Stott, nutrition program coordinator, El Paso. Stott, of El Paso, earned her bachelor’s in educational professional services at Texas A&M and her master’s in nonprofit administration at Seattle University. Stott spent the past four years as the assistant director of a nonprofit early childhood education in Seattle. Before that she was a prekindergarten teacher in College Station. Stott said she has a passion for serving the borderland community. She is excited to be a part of growth in El Paso and Texas as a whole. “The values of AgriLife Extension and the TAMU system speak to my core,” Stott said. “El Paso is my home and my heart. Being able to serve El Paso is a perfect meld of the passions in my life.”

Jake Wightman has taken a position as a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agricultural and environmental safety program specialist in Bryan-College Station.
Jake Wightman has taken a position as a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agricultural and environmental safety program specialist in Bryan-College Station.(Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Jake Wightman, agricultural and environmental safety program specialist, Bryan-College Station. Wightman, of Douglassville, Pennsylvania, earned a bachelor’s from North Carolina State University and is attending Texas Tech University for a master’s. As an undergraduate, he was involved in soil fertility research, focusing on nitrogen rates in sweet potatoes and corn production operations. After graduation, Wightman was a commercial certified pesticide applicator. Wightman said he looks forward to enhancing the lifelong learning journeys of Texans to give more the means to prosper and provide. “I hope that my work with AgriLife Extension will allow me to bring more folks into the workforce and provide them with a means to becoming masters of their trades,” he said.

Ally Wittig is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticultural sciences program coordinator in Bryan-College Station.
Ally Wittig is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticultural sciences program coordinator in Bryan-College Station. (Alex Garza/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Ally Wittig, horticultural sciences program coordinator, Bryan-College Station. Wittig, of Richmond, earned her bachelor’s in recreational parks and tourism sciences at Texas A&M. She holds certificates in youth development, hospitality management, tourism management, and community recreation and park administration. She served as an intern for event planning and programming with Junior Master Gardener and Texas Master Gardener. Wittig said she is excited to be a part of a team passionate about bettering lives all over the world. “We are about to help wrap up a project developing a summer program in Kyrgyzstan,” she said. “It is so precious seeing the impact on these children and their families with the new nutrient-dense recipes taught in their schools. Witnessing the impact our programs have is my ‘why’ for working in AgriLife Extension.”

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