Teaching is a lifestyle for new MSU Extension director

By: Dean Vaglia | Metro | Published November 15, 2023

 Kristi Evans is the new Michigan State University Extension District 11 North director.

Kristi Evans is the new Michigan State University Extension District 11 North director.

Photo provided by MSU Extension


METRO DETROIT — Kristi Evans is a teacher, though her lessons have rarely been limited to the walls of a classroom. She’s been around Michigan, down to Tennessee, returned to the Mitten State and as of Nov. 1, she’s the new Michigan State University Extension District 11 North director.

“I’ve lived and worked and been a resident of Oakland and Macomb throughout the past 15 years, so it’s been really exciting to come back to the counties I live in and help through MSU Extension and the work that we do to make our communities better,” Evans said. “It’s exciting to be able to make an impact in these two counties.”

Evans’ journey into the world of teaching began not with a teaching degree but on a soccer pitch in Tennessee. After earning a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness from Oakland University, she made the journey down to East Tennessee State University to achieve a master’s degree in sport and fitness administration/management. It was in Tennessee where Evans got her first taste of teaching by becoming a soccer coach.

“When I was growing up, soccer was always my biggest passion,” Evans said. “The coaches in my life — and some of them were teachers at my school — they always had the biggest impact in my life, my coaches and my teachers. If I could go back and look at who I am today, besides my parents and my family, (teachers and coaches) had the biggest impact on me.”

Evans coached at her master’s degree alma mater and then at Belmont University in Nashville, but over time she felt called back to Michigan. She returned to Michigan and joined MSU Extension in Detroit in 2014 to teach nutrition and physical education before becoming a supervisor.

Evans did her share of in-the-field teaching for MSU Extension but found herself better suited for the administrative side of her work, making connections between people and coaching people to be their best.

“How can I take a team and optimize their strengths and make it so we’re impacting every part of the community that we need to be in the best route,” Evans said. “That’s one of my favorite parts of coaching a group, seeing how a team can come together and everybody being as impactful as they possibly can.”

It’s on the strength of this administrative passion that Evans found herself becoming the new District 11 North director. Though still in the early days of her time in the position and still getting her bearings about what’s going on around the district, Evans’ chief goal as director is to get the word out about all MSU Extension’s myriad services.

“It’s a joke at MSU Extension that we’re the best kept secret in Michigan because once people find out about us, they go, ‘How did I not know about all these services and these great things you guys do?’” Evans said. “One of the things I want to do is show both counties how much education we have, how many opportunities we have, how much, even as an adult, you can still learn. We have affordable classes for everyone on so many different topics.”

More information about the MSU Extension can be found at canr.msu.edu/outreach. Evans is always looking for new ways to serve communities in Oakland and Macomb counties, and ideas for new classes, programs and services can be sent to evan skr1@msu.edu.