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Rural Teacher Corps

The Rural School and Community Trust and its Center for Midwestern Initiatives are doggedly committed to the Rural Teaching Corps concept.  More than a mere program, the Rural Teacher Corps is a movement dedicated to the belief that colleges and universities must be more intentional in preparing teachers to successfully teach in rural schools.  In addition, a Rural Teacher Corps addresses “bright flight” by advocating for thoughtful approaches to recruiting, preparing, and retaining outstanding rural teachers.

Missouri Superintendent Opines on Educational Policy

Editor’s Note:  Dr. Kevin T. Goddard, Ed.D., Superintendent for the Sarcoxie R-II School District, submitted the following open letter to the Center for Midwestern Initiatives and media outlets throughout Missouri.  Goddard suggests, to put it in the Ozarks’ vernacular, that we have let the cow out of the barn.

We welcome comments on Dr. Goddard’s thoughtful piece, and we encourage others to submit policy-related essays or features on the good work of students and teachers in rural schools.  We have been heartened by the recent upsurge in submissions to this site.

Thank you for your continued interest.


Gary Funk

Galesburg, Illinois


June 29, 2012

I would like to thank the Honorable Governor, House of Representatives, Senators, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of Missouri for their service to our great state. While I serve as Superintendent of Schools in a small, rural community, I proudly consider myself a native, citizen, and servant of Missouri first and foremost. My actions should have an effect not just on the children in this school, but on the future we are trying to build together as a state. Public education is the forum in which every child, regardless of race, color, gender, poverty, wealth, talent, or natural ability, is given the opportunity to become a happy, fulfilled, virtuous Missourian.

Read more: Missouri Superintendent Opines on Educational Policy

Broadening Perspectives Drives Illinois Fellow

Perspective.  For Jose Galvan it is the key to his way of thinking; encouraging his students to consider different perspectives while at the same time broadening his own.

Galvan is a 7th grade American History teacher at Macomb Junior High.  Macomb, a small college town is western Illinois, is a long way literally and figuratively from his hometown of Joliet, an old industrial center southwest of Chicago.  Galvan, who has been teaching in Macomb since 2003, was a first-generation college student, and he was able to attend the University of Illinois on a Golden Apple Scholarship.

Different pathways have provided Galvan with perceptual experiences beyond what one would expect of a young man.  His geographical trek from suburban Joliet to the University of Illinois, and then to a tiny rural school of West Central before moving to Macomb has allowed him to live in a variety of settings.  Just as interesting is Galvan’s career path:  his roles as substitute teacher, classroom teacher, and high school soccer coach have combined to give him a variety of insights on the teaching profession.

Read more: Broadening Perspectives Drives Illinois Fellow

The Creativity Conundrum In Educational Leadership

Roslyn Tam is a recent graduate of the University of Washington's political science department, who, from the first day she stepped foot on campus, has taken a sincere and passionate interest in United States education policy.  Ms. Tam, an individual preparing for graduate study in educational leadership, believes education to be one of if not the most important determinants of a nation's future economic success and seeks to contribute to its continued success through a career in educational leadership and policy. 

Ms. Tam has been following the work of the Center for Midwestern Initiatives, and she has submitted the following article on fostering creative intelligence in the American classroom, which includes a description of an excellent project in Decatur, Illinois.

We encourage you and others to join our conversation and contact us with ideas and essays.  You can read more of Ms. Tam’s work at http://www.educationalleadership.com.

The Creativity Conundrum in Public Education Leadership

By Roslyn Tam

Many of the men and women who shaped the world over the course of history, from Mozart to Albert Einstein to Steve Jobs, have done so by thinking well outside the sphere of traditional education. Famously, each of these men had some issues with authority, and it’s hard to imagine any of them sitting placidly in a classroom and copying facts and figures from a chalkboard. In the end, their genius was not simply in their ability to understand complex systems, although that was certainly an important part of it. What set them apart was their creativity—that is, their ability to use previously held knowledge to produce something that no one had ever thought to make before; whether a symphony, a scientific theory or a personal computer.

Read more: The Creativity Conundrum In Educational Leadership