Deon Stevenson Legette supervises 42 Extension agents and staff members in a 10-county area, but her impact on the Clemson Cooperative Extension Service is statewide.
The winner of the 2020 Alumni Award for Cooperative Extension Distinguished Public Service, Legette is the Midlands District Extension director who, according to her award citation, “has mentored countless adults and youth and she is still mentoring and supporting those who are fortunate to have crossed her path.”
But it was what she created for her Extension colleagues that led to her receiving the award.
After participating in the President’s Leadership Institute, Legette was inspired to develop and train future leaders to carry out the mission of the Cooperative Extension Service. Through her efforts, she created the Extension Emerging Leadership Initiative (EELI) to provide leadership skills, professional development, teambuilding and training opportunities for county agents and Extension associates. In addition, EELI 2.0, the second phase of the development program, aims to actively engage the students in problem-solving, team-building and other activities that allow them to grow as leaders.
“Mrs. Legette has and is promoting cohesion among leaders, developing a higher level of excellence and providing the essential skills to enhance leadership,” the award citation stated. “It is because of her efforts, loyal service and the implementation of EELI that she has been selected to be the recipient of the Alumni Award for Cooperative Extension Service.”
No stranger to awards, In January 2020, Legette received the staff MLK Excellence in Service Award.