Susanne Richards Zilberfarb is the current Executive Director of the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, Inc. Susanne comes to MAEF from the Delaware Soybean Board, where she was executive director for 14 years, and the Maryland Soybean Board, where she was a communications contractor from 1994 to 2017 and executive director from 2017 to 2019. During her time with the boards, she fundraised and locally coordinated the Mid-Atlantic Farmers Feed Us program, an online ag education campaign; co-created and directed the popular My Maryland Farmers website and social media campaign; facilitated the establishment of the Atlantic Soybean Council, a regional soybean research organization; and aligned the boards’ programs and budgets with their strategic plans. She was recognized by Gov. Bob Ehrlich for her contributions to promoting the biodiesel industry. Susanne and her parents, John and Ann Richards, and her nephew, Shawn Richards, operate Sheepfield Farm just south of Leonardtown in St. Mary’s County, raising cut flowers and lawn ornaments that “baa.”
Bonnie Werner is MAEF’s office manager and has been with the organization since its inception in 1989. Before MAEF she worked for Southern States Cooperative. In addition to managing MAEF’s office, she is also very involved in event organization. Overall, she keeps everything and everyone running smoothly. Bonnie lives in Baltimore City where she is an advocate for agriculture and is very involved with her two children and three grandchildren.
Diana Tyler is MAEF’s Education Outreach Coordinator and has been with MAEF since 2005. She attended Harford Community College and earned a degree in Criminal Justice. Diana worked for M&T Bank for 30 years before she came to MAEF. In her spare time, Diana enjoys gardening and baking. She is very involved in the lives of her two daughters; Brooke and Emily.
Peggy Eppig, PH.D.
Peggy Eppig is MAEF’s Director of Middle School and Natural Resources Education. At MAEF Peggy develops integrated agriculture curriculum for grades 6-12 through undergrad. She develops formal and non-formal Ag/environmental science and social studies opportunities for teachers and students. Peggy collaborates with several other institutions, organizations and non-profits to support Farm Based Education, the Leopold Education Project training, the Maryland Farm-to-School program with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and Project Green Classrooms. Peggy facilitates many innovative professional development Ag and natural resources workshops throughout the state for schools systems and professional conferences.
David Miller has been fully engaged in a variety of areas of agricultural education for more than 50 years. Beginning his career as an FFA student member, David went on to pursue a degree in agricultural education at the University of Maryland. After a successful teaching career at Gaithersburg High School from 1966 until 1976, Miller served as the Executive Secretary of the Maryland FFA Association and later the Maryland FFA Association Advisor and Agricultural Education Specialist. In these roles, he played a large part in establishing the Maryland FFA Foundation, Leadership Conference, and Legislative Conference. He also served on the National FFA Board of Directors and National FFA Board of Trustees from 1982 to 1990. In the early 1990s, Miller returned to the local school system. Until his retirement in 2005, he was the Assistant Superintendent for Career and Technology Education at Frederick County Public School. Since retiring, Miller continues to offer his assistance to agricultural education, working as a consultant for MAEF. Through this position, he and others work to improve existing agriscience programs and advocate for growing programs.
Terrie Shank serves as the executive director for Maryland FFA Association and the assistant director of High School and Post Secondary Education. Before joining MAEF, Terrie taught high school agriculture for 32 years in Washington County, retiring from Clear Spring High School. Her views of building agriculture programs and providing teacher training and support directly link to MAEF’s overall mission. Terrie has received multiple awards from the public school system, Maryland Agriculture Teachers Association, and National FFA Association. She is a graduate of LEAD Maryland Class VII. In her spare time, Terrie likes to travel and help in the operation of her family dairy farm, Palmyra Farm, LLC, in Washington County.
Shannon Brown is the Elementary Education Director of MAEF. She came to MAEF in 2016 as a teacher in their mobile science labs, leading students across the state in hands-on lessons highlighting the importance of agriculture in their lives. Shannon was then tasked with developing MAEF’s pilot distance learning education program, which provides elementary teachers with hybrid online/in-person professional development opportunities for incorporating agriculture in their classrooms. As Elementary Education Director, she’s thrilled to head up existing MAEF programs like the Mobile Science Labs, teacher professional development, and Ag Literacy program, among others. She is excited to begin new programs, as well, to bring agriculture to elementary students and teachers. Prior to joining MAEF, Shannon enjoyed her time in the classroom as an elementary teacher in Anne Arundel County Public Schools for ten years. She currently lives in Baltimore City with her husband and two lazy cats, where she enjoys doing hand embroidery, cooking, and seeing shows at the Hippodrome.
Naomi Knight is the Program Coordinator for the Maryland FFA Association, working closely with the MD FFA Executive Director, Terrie Shank. Naomi retired as an agriculture teacher after 32 years, 30 in Harford County and her first 2 years in Frederick County. Naomi’s major accomplishments include: Outstanding Teacher Award, Region 6 of the National Association of Agriculture Educators (NAAE), Finalist in the National FFA Agrscience Teacher of the Year Program, and has earned both the American FFA Degree and the Honorary American FFA Degree. Naomi has devoted her life’s work in agriculture, growing up on her dad’s dairy farm and marrying a dairy farmer of 32 years.
Amie is the Communications Director and comes to the foundation with a background in formal and informal education, curriculum design and implementation, marketing, and partnership development. Amie received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and environmental science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in environmental biology at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. As a Maryland native, Amie identifies the importance of agriculture and environmental education in the classroom and aligns her career goals to educate individuals of the importance of agriculture and sustainability.
Amie and her family currently reside on a small hobby farm in Thurmont, Maryland. She enjoys all outdoor activities, music and art, and spending time with her friends and family. She is excited to extend her skills and knowledge to further MAEF’s mission in creating the next generation of farmers and conservationists.