A familiar face will lead the Panhandle’s Northwest Extension District as interim director while a nationwide search begins for its new, permanent leader.
Julie Dillard grew up in the Washington County 4-H program she would eventually lead, becoming an agent in 2007 and later the county Extension director in 2013. Her role again expanded in 2021 when she became the associate district director for the Northwest Extension District. She will continue to wear those hats as she adds interim district director to her titles.
The district encompasses the 16 westernmost Florida counties — Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington — and every area of Extension specialty. The district’s connection to the communities it serves is strengthened through “Program Implementation Teams,” which allow for inter-county collaboration within one of the specialized programming areas: agriculture, family and consumer sciences, horticulture, natural resources, and youth development.
“Northwest Extension District faculty already have a positive reputation for excellent programming within Program Implementation Teams and individually in their county programs,” Dillard said. “My vision for the district is to deliver relevant and highly impactful programs that not only set us apart from other organizations but also allow us to excel within partnerships that demonstrate collaboration and versatility.”
Dillard is a double Gator, earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the UF/IFAS department of agricultural education and communication. In 2022, she received an Ed.D. from Florida State University.
“I’m looking forward to working more closely with district faculty, staff, and volunteers to highlight Extension work,” Dillard said. “It is my mission to support them as they grow and adapt to meet the needs of clientele across the Florida Panhandle.”