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Johnson County

Tara Markley

County Extension Director and Community Development Agent

Areas of Specialization:

  • Community Development
  • Community Outreach
  • Grant Writing
  • Nonprofits
  • Program Development and Management
  • Staff, Youth, and Volunteer Development

Personal History/Background

Tara grew up in central Illinois on the family farm which predominately grew soy beans and corn. Throughout her college career she worked at summer camps where her spark for youth development ignited. Her dedication for outdoor and environmental education was strong, leading her to pursue her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. Her career path led her to Alaska where she first began working for Camp Fire, a national leader in youth development, running their residential camp and supervising four after-school sites. She spent thirteen years working for five different councils, concluding her career with Camp Fire as the director of Camp Fire Heartland, National Headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.

Tara's passion for youth development led her to join Johnson County K-State Research and Extension in 2013 as the 4-H Youth Development agent. She spent four years developing programs and strengthening the volunteer structure. In 2017, she was named county extension director. In conjunction with her responsibilities as director, Tara is also the county extension agent for the Community Development program. Working with youth, families and community partners is a joy and an everyday highlight. 

Education

  • B.S., Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration; Western Illinois University
  • M.S., Curriculum and Instruction; Northern Illinois University