Bruder named Extension Director

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As a new mother, Kristen Bruder found herself looking for tips and resources to assist a mother in caring for her child.

Bruder said she received newsletters from UW-Extension and found it to be "a fantastic resource."

Now, 16 years after receiving a newsletter in the mail, Bruder will oversee Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties as the Area Extension Director.

The move comes after the University of Wisconsin-Extension begins to institute the nEXT Generation Project. The project will address the $3.6 million structural budget deficit the Extension program is dealing with, according to the Extension website.

Bruder said even though there will be changes, Extension will still deliver "outstanding service."

Before she joined Extension in 2001, Bruder was a school counselor, but felt she could only reach the children and not so much the parents.

After receiving numerous newsletters from Extension, she saw an opening for a Family Living Educator in Rusk County. Bruder didn't hesitate.

Bruder worked in Rusk County as a Family Living Educator and Nutrition Education Program Coordinator and was the Family Living Educator and Department Head for Dunn County for the past seven years.

The move will also eliminate all department heads in each county, with some directors overseeing one county and some as many as five counties. Bruder said the move is putting "your feet to the fire" but said there will be 22 total area directors that she can rely on as well.

Bruder said she still sees educators in Extension to be the first resource for people to go to, covering everything from the heroin and meth epidemic to questions about water quality.

Bruder is one month into her job and said "every day is different." To start, Bruder will be visiting various counties, getting to know the board members and Extension staff.

On Aug. 4, Bruder attended the Pierce County Agriculture and Extension committee meeting and said during the meeting she looks forward to future conversations with the board members.

Bruder will work out of the St. Croix office in Baldwin.