Ray Ali of South Charleston, W.Va., has been named associate director of field operations for Virginia Cooperative Extension. In his new position at Virginia Tech, Ali will support the work of field faculty and district directors across Virginia.
“Ray’s experience developing and leading educational outreach programs will make him a great addition to our team,” said Mark McCann, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension and associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “He will use his people skills and extensive background in higher education to lead Virginia Cooperative Extension’s large network of district and unit offices throughout the commonwealth.”
McCann added that Ali’s team-building approach to solving complex issues makes him an invaluable part of Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Ali said he was honored to take on the responsibility of his new position at Virginia Tech. “I am very excited and humbled to join Virginia Cooperative Extension in its work to improve the quality of life for Virginians.”
Prior to accepting his new position, Ali headed the Department of Adult and Family Education at West Virginia State University. As program leader, he led, developed, and implemented research-based educational outreach initiatives to West Virginia communities in addition to monitoring the educational and fiduciary effectiveness of these initiatives. Over the years, Ali filled a number of other roles at West Virginia State University, including head of the Department of Educational Services and Life-Long Learning, adjunct faculty member in the Education Department, associate director of Extension programs, and a workforce preparation Extension specialist.
Before moving to West Virginia, Ali worked as an educator in Pennsylvania. “I helped establish a charter school in Pittsburgh, where I developed and implemented a new science-based curriculum for inner-city youth,” Ali explained.
Ali was also an Upward Bound instructor at Chatham College, a high school biology teacher, and an instructor in financial literacy and entrepreneurship for urban high school students. In addition, he represented the 1890 Association of Extension Administrators to the National 4-H Leadership Trust and has administered more than $2.1 million in monetary grants and funds throughout his career.
Ali earned a doctoral degree from Marshall University after receiving a bachelor’s degree and a master of arts in teaching degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based agents, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 13 agricultural research and extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.