Elbert County Extension agent to retire after 17 years

Posted 10/28/09

Special to the news An early segment of the award-winning Rocky Mountain PBS Spirit of Colorado features a short video clip, barely more than two …

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Elbert County Extension agent to retire after 17 years


Special to the news

An early segment of the award-winning Rocky Mountain PBS Spirit of Colorado features a short video clip, barely more than two minutes, of the Elbert County Fair, probably taken in 1992, because Megan Kelly, whose swine is being photographed, is 6 years old.

With her, being interviewed in the swine barn, is a man who has never worn a tie to the Elbert County Fair since- Extension Agent Kipp Nye, whose tenure as Elbert County Agent was barely three weeks.

“He hit the ground running and watched and learned,” said Jody Davis, Rural Rustlers 4-H leader. “He asked questions when necessary and listened a lot.”

If he had only been on the job for three weeks, Nye did not show any hesitation in the video. He spoke with the confidence and enthusiasm of someone who had been three years in the job, and his interaction with Megan Kelly was genuine, not staged.

“I’ve learned a lot from the people of Elbert County,” Nye said, “And I’ve always tried to make sure CSU and Extension can help.”

Too often, The Elbert County Extension Office has been thought of as the framework and administration of 4-H programs, but it is so much more. Agent, Nye tries to emphasize the other programs as well.

“Among them the informational talks on pasture management, weeds, water, grass and insect identification, hay production, small business management, the seminars on the beef industry for women, and lots more,” Nye said. “Whatever we can provide, we try to provide it.”

But to Jody Davis, he has done so much more. She said he has managed to take the job in a different direction, benefiting Extension, CSU and the rest of the state. Not only has he been awarded for facilitating what he calls “multi-countyism” a program whereby Extension Agents from all over the state pool their resources and strengths for a greater impact on educational and agricultural needs throughout the state, Nye is responsible for the creation of Building Youth Through Effective Coaching, and the Colorado State Patrol Communications Project she said.

As a 1974 graduate of Lamar High School, Nye invested in a heifer on a friend’s father’s ranch when he was 19 and did chores around the ranch in order to keep the heifer fed and taken care of. As he waited for it to mature, he majored in Science at Colorado State University, perhaps unconsciously watching his own studies progress as the heifer progressed.

From 1979, with a degree in science with a teaching credential, Nye taught middle school science in Windsor. Then after attaining his Master’s in education in 1985, he became the athletic director and assistant principal in the same middle school, where he served until the end of school year 1992, when he was employed through CSU.

Nye’s family has also had genuine participation in Elbert County. Susan McMullen, an elementary school teacher at Running Creek, has often spoken of Diane Nye’s commitment to the students she has served, and to her skills.

“Amazing. She’s able to zero in on something to do with a kid and she knows exactly how to fix it,” McMullen said.

As a 1976 graduate of Lamar High School, Diane married Nye that same year and matriculated from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley with a degree in Elementary Education. Not only has she served the Elizabeth School District with dedication, for many years, she was the official photographer for the Elbert County Fair. Sons Patrick and Kyle and daughter Kathryn were all involved in 4-H and sports.

Now that Diane has accepted a position as principal at a Lamar Elementary School, Nye has found that his career should take second place to hers.

“She has always supported my career and now it’s time I supported hers,” Nye said.

Retirement is a graceful way to do so. The couple has a couple of acres outside Lamar where the children and grandchildren can visit after he moves there full time when his retirement becomes effective October 31.

“There are, of course, many things I’ll take away from this,” Nye said “Like the late night conversations during fair and what I’ve gotten from the people, who’ve always been so kind and helped me learn.” There are things he would have done differently, things he learned from and things he’d found meaningful.

“What I’ve probably learned the most from this job,” he said. “Is to judge less and forgive more.”


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