AMARILLO – Leesa Wood-Calvi will be retiring from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at the end of February after nearly 32 years of service, almost 28 of those in Randall County.
A retirement celebration for Calvi will be from 3-5 p.m. Feb. 27, with presentations at 4 p.m., in the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Blvd. West, Amarillo.
Calvi began working in Randall County in 1985, serving the longest tenure of any agent in Randall County. She began as an assistant agent, and in May 1998 was promoted to the family and consumer sciences agent position.
After her move from Randall County, she spent the past four years as the cancer prevention and early detection program specialist for District 1 based in Amarillo. She worked on the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas-funded Friend to Friend project, designed to help women find breast and cervical cancer earlier when treatment is more successful.
“We have been very fortunate to have Leesa in the Texas Panhandle for more than 30 years,” said Dr. Angela Burkham, AgriLife Extension family and consumer sciences state program leader in Amarillo. “She has brought expertise in program development and interpretation in each position she has held.”
Burkham said Calvi has especially been instrumental in leading the specialized program in breast and cervical health education, using her experiences to equip and assist new agents in programming.
“I look back over the years and remember all the families I have had the privilege to work with and the programs we’ve been a part of and know that AgriLife Extension has provided me an awesome opportunity to make a difference along the way,” Calvi said. “This latest part of my AgriLife Extension journey had a special meaning to me as an individual, and I was so grateful for the avenue to help others in the early detection of cancer so they could go on to lead healthy lives.”
The best thing over the years, she said, were some great co-workers, and “great supervisors who coached me to stretch myself and my potential.”
She said some of the highlights of her career were being able to work with the physicians at Family Medical Center in Canyon to offer the Do Well Be Well with Type 2 Diabetes course for five years, and serving for four years on the state 4-H Scholarship committee that screens and distributes college scholarships to 4-H’ers from across the state.
“I also enjoyed working with 4-H’ers to prepare them for various state contests, and I still volunteer with a few of them when requested,” Calvi said.
“Two legacies that I am very proud of are the Poverty Simulation training with Leadership Amarillo and Canyon and Teen Leadership Amarillo and Canyon, and the Work Force 2000 program that was done for many years in several Amarillo school district high schools. I will continue to teach the business etiquette lunch for the new pro-internship program.”
Calvi earned a master’s degree in communications from West Texas A&M University in Canyon and a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia. She also attended the University of North Texas.
Professionally, Calvi holds certifications in family and consumer sciences and vocational home economics instruction. She taught home economics for three years at Austin Middle School in Amarillo.
She is a member of the American and Texas Associations of Family and Consumer Sciences, the national and state Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Epsilon Sigma Phi National Honorary Extension Fraternity, the National and Texas Association of Extension 4-H Agents, and the Amarillo Women’s Network.
Calvi has been recognized with multiple awards throughout her career, including being named the 2013 Canyon Citizen of the Year. She was a part of the 2014 Superior Service team award for diversity with the staff in Randall County and received the 2015 Florence Hall team award for breast and cervical cancer programming.
In 2016, she earned the Texas Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences highest honor given by the association, the Educator of the Year, along with a television communicator team award.