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EDUCATOR SPOTLIGHT: Radonna Sawatzky
Radonna Sawatzky serves as the Family and Consumer Sciences Educator in Custer County. Radonna is currently in her 24th year with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. She began her career with Extension back in 1989, at the 4-H Agent in Dewey and Major Counties. When she began Oklahoma Cooperative Extension was having some budget issues, so she was hired to work 2 counties. She was a 9 year 4-H member in Custer County, as well as a State 4-H Record Book winner. Radonna loved working with 4-H members and became very involved in the State 4-H ATV Safety program. She worked on many district and state 4-H committees and had several state winners.
In 1991, Radonna was given the chance to become the 4-H Agent in Washita County. The Washita County OSU Extension office was also an area office. During her time in Washita County she got to know lots of staff and learned a lot about Extension. Most of those people in that office are now retired, but Radonna considers them friends and mentors.
Radonna moved to Custer County to become the Family and Consumer Science Educator in 1993. Custer County has a population of about 27,000 people. It is the home of Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the home of Astronaut Tom Stafford. Custer County is located just 80 miles west of Oklahoma City on I40. The county seat is Arapaho, one of the smallest towns in the county. The school districts included in Custer County are Arapaho/Butler, Thomas Fay Custer, Clinton and Weatherford Public Schools.
Radonna graduated from Weatherford High School and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Vocational Home Economics from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She then continued to go to college to receive her Masters of Education degree at SWOSU. Radonna then went to work for OSU Cooperative Extension Service and continued college. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood.
Radonna and her husband Terry, have lived in Weatherford and feel very honored to have raised Taler and Tucker there.
In her Extension career, Radonna has been involved in lots of FCS and 4-H programming.
She has conducted youth and adult cooking schools, Farm to You exhibits, and taught nutrition program for all ages from Head start to Seniors. Radonna is certified in ServSafe, and has worked with some restaurants on safety issues with employees. Radonna has taught Co-parenting through Divorce programs to court ordered parents for the past 20 years. She is very focused on helping parents realize what children go through in our changing society. She has mentored other educators in this field and continues to improve this programming. Radonna is a member of the Health, Hunger and Risky Behavior Issue Teams. Radonna has done lots of programming with Don’t Text and Drive and school nutrition. Radonna is certified in ServSafe and is an ATV Safety Instructor.
Throughout her career, Radonna has worked closely with County Extension Educators throughout Oklahoma sharing resources and programs. Radonna co-developed the Adult & Youth Pork Cooking Schools with a $60,000 grant from the Oklahoma Pork Cooking Schools to benefit all counties. Sixty-one counties conducted an adult and/or youth cooking school which involved 137 Cooperative Extension Educators across disciplines.
Radonna would tell you there is no better career then helping people, it often touches her more than it probably touches them.