The Wisconsin FFA Foundation has named Nicole Schmidt as its incoming executive director, according to Search Committee Chair Mike Kawleski, Wisconsin Public Service. Schmidt begins her new role on Dec. 1, taking over for Mary Elstad Gagnon, who will retire at the end of the year.
A nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, the Wisconsin FFA Foundation develops corporate and individual support for Wisconsin's agricultural education curriculum. Agricultural education in the state serves approximately 45,000 students through classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experiences, and the FFA, a youth career and leadership training organization of nearly 18,000 members.
"I look forward to strengthening agricultural education, particularly the FFA component, by forming partnerships with corporate and individual sponsors," says Schmidt. "People want to support this great program, which transforms today's youth into the leaders who will transform our nation's future."
"Nicole brings a great combination of past experiences, education and personal talents," says Jeff Hicken, agriculture and natural resources education consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. "We hope to build upon our rich history with our current supporters and bring new ones into the program."
Schmidt is herself a "product" of agricultural education, with past participation in the Gresham FFA chapter; service as Wisconsin FFA President and Vice President; and involvement with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Collegiate FFA and the National Collegiate Agricultural Ambassador program. She is a lifetime FFA Alumni member and holds a degree in agricultural communications from UW-Madison.
More information about the Wisconsin FFA Foundation is available at www.wisconsinffafoundation.org.