RURAL DEVELOPMENT LEADERSHIP NETWORK
BOARD OF DIRECTORS/OFFICERS

Moises Loza (Chair, Founding Board Member) - Executive Director, Housing Assistance Council; Chair, National Rural Housing Coalition; Lecturer in Hispanic and Farmworkers Affairs, Maryland University. Formerly Regional Administrator for Western States, Farmers Home Administration, USDA; member, Governor's Interdepartmental Council on Farmworkers (Pennsylvania); Board member, McAuley Institute, Rural development and Finance Corporation. Grew up in migrant farmworker family.
John Zippert (Treasurer, Founding Board Member) - Director of Program, Federation of Southern Cooperatives; Publisher, Greene County Democrat; Member, Minority Farmers Advisory Committee, USDA; Board Chair, Rural Coalition: Board Member, Southern Rural Development Initiatives; Leader of planning process, Greene/Sumter County Enterprise Community; Founding member and former Chair, National Rural development and Finance Corporation; Board member, National Rural Housing Coalition, Alabama Council on Human Relations, Panola Land buyers Association Housing Development Corporation. Leader in local Enterprise Community.
  G. David Singleton (Secretary, Founding Board Member) - Partner, Applied Development Economics; staff, Indian Heritage Commission. Consultant: Tribes and towns, California Indian Manpower Consortium; Member, Rural Economic Development Committee, Formerly responsible for rural economic development activities at State CETA and OEO (California); State Chair, California Rural Development Committee; Executive Secretary, Small Farm Task Force (State of California); Former Executive Director, Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity, relating to farm and mining towns in Alabama.
  Twila Martin-Kekahbah (Parliamentarian) - Director of Research, Consultant and Founder, United Tribes Technical College; Member, Advisory Committee, Rural Women's Health; Former Chairperson, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians; former Director, Turtle Mountain Community College; Vice Chair, Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen Health Board, Senate Appointee, White House Conference on Indian Education, Executive Committee, Native American Rights Fund. Former Kellogg Fellow M.ED., Pennsylvania State University, B.S., University of North Dakota.
  The Honorable Dr. Unita Blackwell - Having picked cotton in her youth, she became a civil rights leader with SNCC and a pioneer in registering to vote. In 1964, she was a member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party that challenged the Democratic Convention. She was the first African American woman elected mayor in (Mayersville) Mississippi. She has chaired the National Council of Black Mayors, headed the U.S. China Peoples Friendship organization, worked with the National Council of Negro Women, received a MacArthur Fellowship, and taught at the JFK School of Government at Harvard. As a National Rural Fellow, she earned a Master’s in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts. See her autobiography Barefootin', co-authored with Joanne Prichard Morris (Crown, 2006).
  Anita LaRan - President of the Sangre de Cristo Livestock Growers Association and Executive Director of Colborative Visions in Mora, New Mexico. She is president of the Guadalupita Water Association. Previously she was Executive Director of Helping Hands aandshe coordinated a regional workforce program under the umbrella of SER, bringing computer training and other services to many low-wealth people in the process.
Shirley Sherrod Shirley Sherrod (former Vice Chair) - Former Georgia State Director, Rural Development, USDA; Former Director, Georgia field office, Federation of Southern Cooperatives and Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative. Formerly Executive Director, Community Alliances of Interdependent Agriculture; Board Chair, Farmers Legal Action Group, Rural Leadership Award, National Rainbow Coalition. Formerly with New Communities, Inc., then owner of the largest tract of Black-owned land in the U.S. Former Kellogg Fellow. Ms. Sherrod is the author of The Courage to Hope: How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear, a memoir about her life, Civil Rights work, forced resignation from USDA, and future plans. She is a partner in the Sherrod Institute at Cypress Pond. Graduate, Rural Development Leadership Network, M.A., Antioch University.
Mily Treviño-Sauceda - She grew up in a migrant farmworker family and became an organizer at the age of sixteen with the United Farmworkers Union. Later she formed a group of farmworker women in the Coachella Valley, a forerunner of Organización en California de Lideres Campesinas, a statewide farmworker organization which she co-founded and heads. She sits on many boards and, nominated by RDLN, has received an Alston/Bannerman sabbatical, 100 Heroines of the World, and Leadership for a Changing World awards. A RDLN leader, she holds a B.A. from California State University of Fullerton and is working on her master's degree from Antioch through RDLN.
Starry Krueger - Starry Krueger is founding President of the Rural Development Leadership Network, established in 1983. She was founding Director of National Rural Fellows program from 1977-1983. Ms. Krueger has been consultant to the Ford Foundation and other organizations, Evaluator for the New York City Community Development Administration, and a volunteer organizer for the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee in Stockton, California. She has volunteered on several political campaigns, assisted anthropologist Oscar Lewis on La Vida, contributed to the New York Women's Directory and is the author The Whole Works: The Autobiography of a Young American Couple (Random House), the life story of a farmworker couple living in a migrant camp in California.

Emerita/us

Billie Jean Young - (founding Chairwoman), who grew up in a sharecropping family, is an activist, poet, and educator. Her poetry books include Fear Not the Fall and The Child of Too.  She has contributed to Wild Women in the Whirlwind and Mississippi Writers Vol. I.  She is well known for her creation and performance of "FANNIE LOU HAMER: THIS LITTLE LIGHT?"  A MacArthur Fellow, she currently heads the Drama Project and the Southwest Alabama Rural and Minority Women's Association.  She is working on drama with young people in public schools through Judson College.

Art Estrada - (founding Board member) Has retired from the New Mexico Office on Aging. He is the former Executive Director of Youth Program, SER/Jobs for Progress. Former Executive director, Rio Grande Center, Group Director, Assistance Group for Rural Economic Development, National Council of La Raza; Executive Director, Utah Migrant Council; President, Utah Economic Development Corporation; Member, Utah Governor's Committee on Migrant Affairs; Western Team Leader for Mi-grant and Seasonal Farmworkers, Community Services Administration, Washington, D.C.; Pro-gram Analyst, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.; Area Director, Colorado Migrant Council; Contract Service Manager, Western Agriculture Corporation, Denver, Colorado. Grew up in rural Colorado. Worked as a migrant labor foreman in that state.
Maria Varela - Founder of Ganados del Valle and Tierra Wools, model community economic development projects in New Mexico which grew from her field work in the National Rural Fellows program. A MacArthur Fellow, she heads The Rural Resources Group. and serves as Coordinator of Colorado College SWS Regional Research Initiative. She teaches at the RDLN Rural Development Institute at the University of California at Davis. A SNCC leader during the Civil Rights movement, Maria also worked with Reis Tijerina in the Southwest. An accomplished photographer, co-author of Rural Environmental Planning, she has served on the boards of National Rural Finance Corp., Coop Bank, and the Ms. Foundation.

 

 


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