Arkansas 4-H State Staff

4-H Youth Development State Staff

Debbie Nistler

Assistant Vice President, 4-H Youth Development

Dr. Nistler is a career professional in Extension, serving 27 years in Oregon, Washington, Florida, Iowa, and currently in Arkansas. Receiving a B.S. and M.S. Degrees from Oregon State University and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Dr. Nistler led the Florida 4-H Legislature program for 16 years and provided leadership for Civic Engagement and Civil Discourse Education for University of Florida Extension. Dr. Nistler intentionally chose opportunities professionally that would allow growth in leadership and more effectively contribute to the profession. This included National and State leadership engagement opportunities, research intended to further the profession, and mentoring young professionals to engage more fully in our profession. Dr. Nistler is a past National President of the Association of Extension 4-H Agents as well as a member of the National Joint Council of Extension Professionals. Dr. Nistler currently serves as Assistant Vice President for 4-H and Youth Development and is committed to helping all Extension professionals reach their full potential through collaboration and communication.


4-H Events Coordinator

Priscella began her career with Extension in 2001 after serving as a program coordinator with the American Lung Association. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Education from the University of Central Arkansas and her master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. As the 4-H Events Coordinator, she provides leadership to the state 4-H activities and events for youth, adult, and staff, including 4-H O-Rama (District & Arkansas), National 4-H Congress, National 4-H Conference, Western Round-Up and the FCS National Invitational. She also provides leadership to the State 4-H program outreach efforts and the summer 4-H internship program. Priscella and her family reside in the Pulaski County area. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, cooking, volunteering in the community and with her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Carrie Stark

Instructor, 4-H Youth Development

Dr. Carrie Stark has a 30-year Extension career, where she has worked at both the county and state level. Currently Dr. Stark is an Instructor, working primarily in professional development and mentoring for Extension Professionals who work with the 4-H Youth Development. Prior to coming to Arkansas, she served as the State 4-H Youth Development Director for the University of Nevada, Reno Extension for 8½ years . She also served as an Associate Professor and 4-H Youth Development Specialist with tenure at the University of Idaho 4-H Youth Development Program, a 4-H Youth Development Specialist at North Dakota State University, as a 4-H Youth Development Agent in Chippewa County, Michigan and as an Assistant Extension Educator in 4-H Youth Development in Twin Falls County, Idaho. Her area of expertise within the 4-H Youth Development program centers on providing and organizing professional development for other Extension professionals. Her passion is providing high quality opportunities and mentoring new agents to help them succeed in their position. She also provides expertise in the areas of positive youth development, animal science, shooting sports, 4-H club programming, and risk management. Carrie holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degree from the University of Idaho in Agriculture and Extension Education and a Ph.D. in Adult and Occupational Education from North Dakota State University.

Jesse Bocksnick

4-H Outdoor Skills Coordinator

Jesse started his Extension career in 2007 as a county extension agent serving 10 years in that role between Sebastian and Perry Counties. He accepted the Outdoor Skills Coordinator position in 2017 where he provides expertise to programs such as ATV Safety, Shooting Sports, Outdoor Skills Challenge, 4-H Record Books, State 4-H Officers, Agent Training, Agriculture as well as many other areas. 4-H is a family affair as he and his wife Creenna met in 4-H and both are now 4-H professionals while raising their son Ryker. Jesse grew up on a dairy, beef, and commercial hay farm on Big Piney Creek north of Dover Arkansas in Pope county. He bleeds green as a  3rd generation 4-Her who also served as a 4-H State ambassador and State 4-H Officer. He holds a degree in Agriculture Business from Arkansas Tech University and Masters degree in Agriculture and Extension Education from the University of Arkansas. He enjoys working on his bronco, tractors, or in the shop when time allows.

michelle mcvay

4-H STEM Instructor

Michelle McVay, a dedicated STEM Instructor with a passion for inspiring young minds through hands-on learning and exploration, began her career with extension in June 2024. Michelle earned both a Bachelor's in Communication Sciences & Disorders and a Master's of Arts in Teaching from the University of Central Arkansas. Beyond the job, her heart lies in travel and the great outdoors. Whether it's hiking through national parks, exploring wildlife, or adventuring to new parts of the world, she finds endless inspiration in the wonders of the Earth. This love for the natural world often finds its way into her career, where she strives to connect scientific concepts with real-life experiences. At home, Michelle cherishes time with her husband Jonathon and their two beloved pups, Sasha and Jolene. They remind her daily of the joy that comes from curiosity and companionship.

Breanna Wade

Volunteer and Staff Development, Program Associate

Breanna began her experience in 4-H as a 4-H’er in Montgomery County, Arkansas. She spent over 10 years in the program focusing on healthy living and civic engagement and served as a National 4-H Conference collegiate facilitator for two terms. She has her Associate of Arts from the University of Arkansas- Rich Mountain, her Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Sciences with a minor in Political Science from the University of Arkansas, and her Master’s in Youth Development Leadership from Clemson University. She is a first-generation college student and is passionate about providing opportunities to underserved youth through positive life experiences. Breanna worked with Florida 4-H for three years and has enjoyed implementing programs promoting mental health support and workforce readiness. When she is not working, you can find Breanna looking for odd taxidermy or a good book with her husband Pearson, and her velcro pug, Lucy.

Bethany Leonard

Civic Engagement & Leadership, Program Associate

Bethany began working in extension in November 2023 after serving as the FCS Pathway Adviser and the FCCLA State Adviser. She's now the Civic Engagement Program Associate and the 4-H State Adviser, focusing on Teen Leader Conference, Leadership Opportunities, and the Youth Leadership Team. She received her bachelor’s degree in FCS Education from Harding University and her master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Southern Arkansas University. When she's not working, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and her many cats, embracing the title of "crazy cat lady." Bethany is passionate about youth leadership and loves being able to work with Arkansas 4-H Youth.

Emma Hill

Curriculum Coordinator, Program Technician

Emma started working for the State 4-H office in July 2022. She began as an administrative specialist and became Curriculum Coordinator that November, which is her current role. She received her Bachelors of Science in Education from the University of Arkansas. Emma oversees curriculum, the events and enrollment system, the weekly announcements, and is the administrator for the Arkansas 4-H website. In her free time, Emma loves to cook for her loved ones, bake sourdough bread, read, and spend time with her husband John and beloved cat Ms. Boots. 

JeAlberne Smith

4-H Program Technician

JeAlberne became the 4-H Program Technician for the State 4-H Office in April 2024. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Education from the University of Central Arkansas. She hopes to pursue her master’s degree soon.  JeAlberne has one child Isaiah Jr., and a sweet senior dog named Max. In her free time, she enjoys nature walks, reading, cooking, spending time with her family, obsessing over cows, and volunteering in the community with her organization.

Lynne Wooten

Admin Support Supervisor

Lynne Wooten has been with the 4-H Department since April 1997 and serves as the Administrative Support Supervisor. Before Extension, she completed her BA in English, worked with UALR’s Intensive English Language program and served as a secretary for a local engineering firm. She currently provides support to staff and administrative specialists in 4-H, assists with the youth protection program and works daily with Workday travel policies. In addition to maintaining her extensive collection of cows on postage stamps, she enjoys reading and loves to dream about beautiful quilt patterns.

Khalia Coleman

Executive Assistant

Khaliah started at Extension on May 9, 2022 as the Admin Specialist III for Horticulture. Eight months later, Khaliah started as the new Executive Assistant in the Development Office. Now, a year later she is the Executive Assistant for Debbie Nistler-4H and Nina Roofe-FCS. Khaliah studied higher education most of her adult life. She completed her associate degree in business administration at Pulaski Technical College in May of 2011. She is currently attending UALR to finish her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Communications with a minor in Business Information Systems. She hopes to later pursue her Master’s as well. Her general task in 4-H is to assist Debbie Nistler in her day-to-day operations. Fun fact: most of her childhood was spent at her  grandparents 100 acres farm and she absolutely loves John Deer Products! She is a mom to one and only son, Adam, who graduated high school in May of 2024.

Cody Tucker

Administrative Specialist III

Cody Tucker has been with the 4-H Department since February 2022 and serves as Administrative Support. He has earned Bachelor of Science. He currently provides support to 4-H specialists, assists with  scholarships, chartering clubs, and general help with technology.

Bianca Ortega

Administrative Specialist III

Bianca Ortega started with the 4-H Department in August 2023 after being a retail supervisor for the past 10 years. She is an administrative support specialist for the program associates and instructors. Bianca is currently taking online courses through Southern New Hampshire University for her Bachelor's degree in History. Bianca has two children, two dogs, and too many books from Barnes and Noble.  When not working, Bianca is usually enjoying family time and catching up on her reading.


4-H Youth Development Animal Science & Natural Resources Staff

Mark Russell

Professor - Equine Extension

Dr. Mark Russell has been the Extension Horse Specialist since 2010. During this time, he has overseen all facets of the statewide 4-H Horse Program. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Colorado State University, and Doctorate from Texas Tech University. Mark and his wife, Emily, are Conway County residents and have two children Carter and Tatum. In his free time, Mark judges horse shows nationally for AQHA, APHA, NSBA, and NRCHA and shows horses with his family.

Becky McPeake

Professor/Extension Specialist, Wildlife

Becky is a professor in the Forest Resources Unit and has worked for the Cooperative Extension Service since 1998. She has coordinated or provided assistance to a number of 4-H programs over the years in addition to her primary work, which includes providing assistance to county agents conducting landowner/producer outreach and field demonstrations about wildlife. She coordinates the 4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program, 4-H Food Plot Project, and District and State Wildlife O-Rama’s, and assists with the Wonders of Waterfowl Workshop. She served as a 4-H Club Leader in Saline County for about 15 years and got hooked on raising and showing Dutch rabbits while her kids were in 4-H. She and her husband reside in Benton.

Allison Harman

Instructor - 4-H Youth Livestock

Allison joined the Animal Science Department in February 2023 as the 4-H Youth Livestock Instructor. She received her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science with a minor in Business Administration from Clemson University. Her Master of Science degree is from Mississippi State University in Animal Science with a focus in reproductive physiology. Some of her responsibilities as 4-H Youth Livestock Instructor include providing leadership for state-level 4-H livestock contests, supporting county and district showing and selection clinics, and coordinating other state livestock events. Allison is originally from South Carolina where she was very active in 4-H and FFA showing beef cattle and livestock judging. In her free time, she loves being around cattle, putting together puzzles, and going on walks with her dog, Rocky.

Andrew Bolton

Instructor - Poultry Science

Andrew Bolton joined the Poultry Science Department in November 2023.  He received his Bachelor's and Master's of Science inAgricultural and Extension Education from the University of Arkansas. Some of Andrew's responsibilities include poultry chain, 
poultry judging, and 4-H BBQ contests.


4-H Center Program Staff

Learn all about this part of the Arkansas 4-H Staff on the 4-H Center Programs Staff About Us page. 

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