Kay Wilder, AAFCS director-at-large, became a member of AAFCS/AHEA as a university student. She experienced early on the importance of being active in a professional organization.
Kay completed her Bachelors of Arts degree in home economics education at Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho. After teaching one year in Idaho, she moved to Quincy, Massachusetts, to teach at North Quincy High School. Three years later she completed her Master of Science degree in home economics education at Simmons College, Boston. Kay completed her doctorate degree at Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff, Arizona. Her four-state dissertation research study identified societal issues effecting families and consumers. This research provided new knowledge and direction for FCS/HEC secondary teachers and teacher educators as they prepared students for their future careers and family life.
The first ten years of Kay's teaching career was in secondary schools in Idaho, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Missouri. In New Jersey and Missouri, she directed teacher workshops and seminars on family violence, effective parenting, and individual wellbeing. Kay moved to San Diego, California, where she served for 32 years in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU). Kay states her "greatest joy was teaching, guiding and caring for students throughout their college career journey."
Kay served for 25 years as chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at PLNU. Guiding and directing an increase in FCS programs offered, curriculum revisions, program reviews, Dietetics program accreditation, and facility remodel came with many challenges. Each challenge gave her insight into guiding individuals towards a common goal, effective problem solving, and decision-making. Yearly she was assigned to a variety of University task force groups and campus-wide committees. Each assignment developed a broader awareness and knowledge in strategic planning, academic programs, accreditation, resource management, and collaboration with colleagues across multiple disciplines.
In addition to the years of service within FCS education, Kay served on AAFCS/AHEA regional, state, and national boards and committees, including AAFCS Board of Directors (2006-2009), Annual Convention Committee (2002-2004), California Affiliate President (2000-2002), California Affiliate Board (1991-2003), San Diego District President (1991-1993), and San Diego District Board (1987-2006).
When participating on boards and committees her leadership philosophy and principles guided her to serve the whole team, not herself; to be a leader of character with high ethical standards and professionalism; to have a mindset of collaboration; to be a bridge-builder and role model for civility; to have a consistent respectful, supportive, and trusting relationship with all AAFCS members, and to encourage interactive open-minded communication.
In 2013, after 45 years in FCS education, Kay moved to Maryland to be close to her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. In her retirement she continues to lead parenting groups who desire to learn about effective parenting and family wellbeing. Her goal is to continue to serve families in multiple settings for improving quality of life of children and their families.