UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- William Kleiner, interim associate director of Penn State Extension since July 2012, has been named to the post on a standing basis, effective Oct. 1.
Kleiner will provide organizational and operational leadership in support of the strategic objectives of Penn State Extension and will be a key member of the College of Agricultural Sciences administrative group.
He will work closely with the college leadership team of deans, extension program leaders and district directors, academic department heads, support unit leaders and outreach partners. Extension's 21 district directors report directly to the associate director, who is responsible for daily oversight of district/county operations.
Penn State Extension, with offices in each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, transfers research-based information to individuals, families, businesses and communities through nonformal educational programs designed to meet locally identified needs.
"Recent restructuring and other new initiatives to revamp the way we do business make this a time of unprecedented transformation for extension," said Dennis Calvin, director of extension and associate dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences. "Bill Kleiner has been closely involved in our efforts to redefine extension, and his wealth of knowledge and experience will provide continuity in leadership for the organization and its stakeholders."
After receiving his bachelor's degree in horticulture from Penn State in 1980, Kleiner served as wholesale manager for a commercial floral and greenhouse operation in his native Williamsport. He joined Penn State Extension in 1981 as an agriculture and 4-H educator, serving in Lackawanna and Clearfield counties. From 1986 to 1988, he was a diagnostician in Penn State's Plant Disease Clinic while earning his master's degree in plant pathology.
In 1988, he moved to Adams County to conduct extension education programs for commercial and home fruit growers in a seven-county region. He became Adams County extension director in 1996.
From 2007 to 2012, Kleiner was regional director for Penn State Extension's former Southeast Region. In that role, he initially provided administrative and programmatic leadership for extension in nine southeastern Pennsylvania counties. In 2010, the Southeast Region expanded to include 16 counties, stretching as far west as Franklin County.
Kleiner, who was the first Penn State Cooperative Extension Director's Administrative Leadership Fellow, is completing a doctorate in agricultural and extension education at Penn State. He has served in leadership positions for, and has been honored by, several professional organizations of which he is a member.