The satisfaction that Deb Ivey ’73, MS’92 drew from guiding 4-H programs in Iowa County was pretty evident shortly after she started the job.
“Somebody asked one of my kids how I liked the job, and they said, ‘She’s not a grouch anymore. She smiles all the time,’” Ivey recalls.
In 1999, Ivey began her 17-year stint as 4-H youth development educator — a role that involved working with 175 local volunteers to manage programs serving 550 Iowa County kids each year.
“It was such rewarding work,” says Ivey, who retired in 2016. “I just had a young former 4-H participant contact me after he graduated from law school, seeking a job-reference letter. To see these young people succeed is very satisfying.”
Ivey, who grew up on a farm near Livingston, graduated from UW–Madison in 1973 with a degree in home-economics education. She taught family and consumer education in Darlington and the Iowa-Grant schools and then went back to UW–Madison during the early 1990s to get a master’s degree in educational administration.
“Sharing my knowledge and energy with the community is important to me.”
Armed with that credential — which gave her a long-lasting network of faculty, staff, and fellow students — she served as an assistant principal at Platteville High School until the 4-H job came open. She also went on to become a tenured faculty member at UW–Extension.
“My experience at UW–Madison exposed me to new ideas, and being able to work with outstanding faculty had a great effect on me and my career.”
In retirement, Ivey volunteers as a 4-H Cloverbud leader for kindergarten through second-graders and was recently named to the board of trustees of Upland Hills Health.
“Sharing my knowledge and energy with the community is important to me,” Ivey says. “I may be old enough to retire, but I’m not retiring from serving people in my community.”