Welcome Kati Lawson!

New Highlands County Extension Director and 4-H Agent Brings a Passion for Education


Kati Lawson is putting her passion for agricultural science and teaching to good use as the new 4-H Agent and County Extension Director for Highlands County. 

Originally from Okeechobee County, Lawson was a public school teacher for seven years. 

“I taught elementary, middle, and high school. Then I transitioned into higher education, and I taught at the Plant City location for the University of Florida and taught Communication and Leader Development,” she says.

Teaching and agriculture run in her family. Lawson’s father was an Animal Science teacher for more than 30 years in Okeechobee’s robust ag program. The school held about 200 acres and 80 head of cattle.

“I grew up on a working farm,” she recalls. “It was just the school’s farm!”

Science education is a passion of Lawson’s, and she is eager to share that love of learning about the world with the kids in 4-H.

“When I taught elementary school, I taught science and math, so I really enjoyed STEM education, and I’d love to bring more of a STEM aspect to 4-H Club,” she says. “Agriculture is very rich in STEM. Agriculture itself is a science, and a lot of people may not realize that it is a living science.”

Lawson has experience working with various disciplines within the agricultural science field, including helping out with the Geomatics degree program at University of Florida. This has given her unique insight into the myriad ways modern technology makes farming more efficient, but she still understands the value of learning less high-tech skills at a young age. She has worked as a 4-H camp counselor in the summers, teaching a cooking camp, too.

“I’m big on practical skills for students,” she mentions. “One of the biggest draws to the job is there’s a lot of variety in what is available through 4-H. There are hundreds of potential programs we can offer.”

This is Lawson’s 15th year working as a state employee. She loves teaching and relishes this new opportunity to take education out of the classrooms and into the fields. Her background in communications gives her the expertise to bridge the gap between public knowledge and agricultural knowledge. 

Lawson and her two older siblings were raised in Okeechobee, but over time all three of them, plus their parents, have relocated to the Sebring area. She lives in Lake Placid with her husband and their 8-year-old son, and she loves the town’s quaint charm that blends classic “Old Florida” with the contemporary culture.

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