Fort Valley State University Extension administrator earns honor

Published By: Russell Boone June 28, 2022

Joy Moten-Thomas (L), assistant administrator for community development and outreach for Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension, recently earned the Bonnie Teater Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by the Southern Rural Development Center. Dr. John Greene, director of the Southern Rural Development Center presents her with a plaque.

Joy Moten-Thomas, assistant administrator for community development and outreach for FVSU Cooperative Extension, earned the Bonnie Teater Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC).

The mission of the SRDC is to enhance the capabilities of more than 30 land grant institutions in its region to address issues involving rural development impacting the well-being of people and communities in the rural South.

Additionally, the honor, which comes with a monetary stipend, is awarded to an individual for superior lifetime work and important contributions in the Extension Community Development area.

Dr. Mark Latimore Jr., associate dean for Extension, nominated Moten-Thomas for the honor.

To be eligible for the award, the individual must be employed or retired in the last 12 months by one of 30 Land-Grant Universities in the SRDC region. They must also serve as an administrator, specialist or agent in the Extension community development area at the state, multi county or county level for at least 10 years. Finally, they must possess an impressive portfolio of Extension related programs and publications.

“I am proud and honored to receive the 2022 Bonnie Teater award,” Moten Thomas said. “Very few people from the 1890 community have received this award, and I hope that I am able to inspire others to continue to take risks to benefit the audiences they serve.  I have received numerous awards in my career, but this award will always be the one that I cherish the most,” the FVSU administrator said.

For 19 of her 25-years in the community and economic development field, Moten-Thomas has worked for FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program.  Some of her achievements include:

  • The creation of the University’s first homebuyer education program, HomeGrown in 2003.
  • Chairing the city of Fort Valley’s Mayor’s Housing and Community Development task force for 15 years which lead the city of Fort Valley chartering their own Rebuilding Together Fort Valley affiliate and  the $1.5 million streetscape project that led to the beautification of State University Drive.
  • Receiving designation as a Phase III Stronger Economies Together (SET) in 2012 which afforded rural communities designated by USDA as Strikeforce counties in Regions 8, 9, 10 and 11 to focus on regional issues impacting their geographic area. She served as the project lead.
  • Providing leadership to the College of Agriculture’s Sheep and Goat Story exhibit at the Georgia National Fair in Perry since 2015.
  • Providing leadership to FVSU’ College of Agriculture Ham & Egg Legislative Breakfast. This serves as one of the university’s flagship events.  In 2018, Moten-Thomas secured former Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue and Senator David Purdue as program speakers for the event.
  • Serving as National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) 1890 Representative representing 19 land grant institutions, along with serving at the Program Leaders Network (PLN) CRD Committee Chair (twice).

The award is named after Bonnie Teater, who worked for more than 30 years as a member of the SRDC staff. Teater is currently enjoying retirement in her home state of Kentucky. She served as an inspiration for the Center with her dedication and passion for rural development research of the region’s land grant universities Extension mission.