Meet Our Team

Oregon FFA CEO

Phil Ward

Mr. Ward started his career as a high school agriculture educator and FFA advisor and taught seven years in two school districts. After leaving teaching in 1984, Ward has served as Executive Vice President of the Oregon Farm Bureau, Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Water Resources, and as State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Oregon. In recent years, Ward returned to teaching as an instructor in Leadership at Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Now, in a career that has come full circle Ward is back working with FFA members on a regular basis as Chief Executive Officer of the Oregon FFA, a position to which he was named in March of 2021.

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Oregon FFA Financial Manager

Beth Sprague

Beth grew up in Pleasant Hill, Oregon deeply steeped in agriculture as part of a large rural family.  Returning to her roots by joining the FFA’s staff team in 2020, she serves as the financial manager for the organization.  Beth has led the finances of numerous nonprofits in Oregon and loves being part of organizations that contribute to our youth.  Her primary responsibilities include budgeting and accounting for the Association and Foundation.   When she is not crunching numbers, she is happily gardening, cooking for her 4 children or serving as the long-term coach of her local high-school cross country team. 

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Association Executive Secretary

Lee Letsch

Lee was an active member in 4-H and FFA at Dallas High School and has been an active member of the local and state FFA alumni groups since then. Growing up, Lee was raised on a family farm where they raised pigs, cattle, and had horses. The family farm has continued with Lee’s two teenage boys where they now raise meat goats, sheep, and pigs. Lee started working for the Oregon FFA Association in 2003 and has held various roles during that time.
Today, she serves as the Oregon FFA Executive Secretary for the Oregon FFA Association. Her primary responsibilities include implementation of statewide FFA programs, working closely with Oregon Ag Teachers and Board of Directors, and managing the Oregon FFA State Officer Team. Lee loves being able to work with and watching students grow into their potential while developing their skills and passions through agriculture.

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Career Development Coordinator

Leila Graves, PhD

Dr. Graves grew up in the Bay Area, California. She did not have the advantage of having an FFA Chapter at her high school but when she was introduced to FFA during her graduate studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo California she was immediately impressed with the quality of the program. Leila believes all students should have access to a quality education and the ability to benefit from the FFA framework. At Colorado State University the focus of her dissertation was integrating STEM into Common Core curriculum using plant science as the vehicle. As the Oregon FFA Career Development Coordinator since 2019, Leila currently collaborates with industry partners and professional educators to create and facilitate relevant career development events (CDEs) and works closely with her CDE Advisory board to improve resources to support Oregon Agriculture teacher in the classroom and at a distance.

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Leadership Development Coordinator

Catelyn Sanders

Catelyn has three loves in life: Jesus, cows, and peanut butter. She was born and raised on cattle operations, growing up predominately in Southern Nevada. Agriculture was more than a pastime for her, it was a lifestyle. She fell in love with cattle genetics at an early age and set her sights on a career that would allow her to be ‘elbow-deep’ in it. Catelyn received her degree in Agribusiness with an emphasis in Animal Reproduction from Brigham Young University– Idaho in 2015. After serving an 18 month mission for her church, Catelyn realized her love of helping and working with others. This experience was the springboard for her career in training and facilitation. Catelyn comes from a family that, according to her father, “bleeds blue and gold”. She was an active member of the Pahranagat Valley FFA Chapter and went on to be the Nevada FFA State President and a National Officer Candidate. Serving as the Leadership Development Coordinator is a dream come true for her and she is grateful to be part of the FFA family once again. 

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Foundation Development Officer

Betsy Hartley

Betsy grew up on a small farm on the edge of Los Angeles County.  Her family grew table grapes, which she sold at local farmer’s markets to raise money to buy a 4-H project animals. She studied agriculture education and communications at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo to follow her passion of making sure people knew where their food and fiber came from! She has a strong professional background in fundraising, marketing, and alumni and stakeholder relations.

She has worked at the National 4-H Council, the March of Dimes and spent 13 years work in the Dean’s office for the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. At OSU is where she began to volunteer for the Oregon FFA program. Coming back to be the Development Officer for the Oregon FFA Foundation is like ‘coming home’ to the place where her heart and her professional passions come together.  When she isn’t working you are likely to find her running on trails, covered in dirt and smiling ear to ear.

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Foundation Development Program Assistant

Allison Stephenson

Alli was born and raised on her family’s 600 acre cattle ranch in Scio Oregon. Growing up, she spent her days showing horses and learning the ins and outs of livestock management through her involvement in 4-H and working on the family ranch. Alli’s commitment to agricultural education and community support blossomed during her high school years as a member of the Scio FFA chapter.
She pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Science with minors in Crop and Animal Science from Oregon State University in 2021.  Fueled by her passion for teaching and a desire to give back to her community, she pursued a master’s degree in Agriculture Education and graduated in 2022 from Oregon State University.   
From there she worked for the SNAP-Ed Program at OSU Extension Service in Linn and Benton Counties. In her free time, she loves to spend it with her family and 3 beloved dogs; Ivy, Rooster and Dingo, camping and exploring the great outdoors on horseback, or strolling plant section isles at Home Depot. 

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