The Rural Schools Partnership recognized 10 new members of the Ozarks Teacher Corps at its annual Rural Schools Rendezvous in Reeds Spring in April.
Each of the 10 students is a teaching education major, representing Evangel University, and Missouri State University campuses in both Springfield and West Plains. Each student will receive $4,000 scholarships for both of their last two years of school. In exchange, they must agree to teach at least their first three years in a small district – defined in the Ozarks as anything outside of Springfield or Joplin – and attend Ozarks Teacher Corps events over the next two years.
These students’ reasons for applying for the Ozarks Teacher Corps – besides a sizeable scholarship, funded by the Chesley and Flora Lea Wallis Trust – all come back to their own experiences growing up, and a desire to sustain small communities.
The members of this year’s class are (pictured, left to right): Samantha Orr, Fair Grove; McKenzie Moreland, Pierce City; Blane Redus, Marionville; Nathan Christeson, Cabool; Ashley Howell, West Plains; Jennifer Cockrum, Bakersfield; Whitney Randolph, Eminence; Danielle Best, Strafford; Brittany Witt, Lake Ozark; and Becky Wells, Republic.
Since 2010, 68 students have been accepted to the Ozarks Teacher Corps and more than 90 percent have found employment in rural districts following graduation. For more information on scholarship program, go to www.ruralschoolspartnership.org/ozarks-teacher-corps.
It was a day of celebration on April 23 at the Rural Schools Partnership’s annual Rendezvous, which this year was hosted by the Reeds Spring R-IV School District at Reeds Spring High School.
The Rendezvous featured the annual awarding of Coover Place-Based Education Grants, this year totaling $72,000 to four groups. The RSP also introduced the nine members of the newest class of the Ozarks Teacher Corps, a cadre of teaching education majors who have a special interest in rural schools and plan to teach in a rural district after graduation.
The day also included a keynote presentation by Lavina Grandon, a key player in rural districts’ fight against Arkansas’ controversial Act 60, which consolidated scores of districts in that state. Former CFO president and RSP founder Dr. Gary Funk, now with the Rural Schools Collaborative, also spoke.
But the heart of the day was wrapped up in two individuals – both from Reeds Spring – who were honored for their contributions to the Stone County town and district.
High schooler Sophia Greenwalt (pictured) featured in 2012’s “Hats, Pies and Fiddles” video for her Helping Hats charitable program, was awarded the RSP’s first Youth Philanthropy Award. Sophia, who for almost two years has been battling leukemia, accepted the award in person, flanked by friends and family.
The other award was the inaugural Arthur Mallory Award, named for the longtime Dallas County and Missouri education official who was vital to the RSP’s establishment and a former CFO board chair. The award went to longtime Reeds Spring administrator Jim Holt, the longtime leader both of the district’s very active education foundation and the Table Rock Lake Community Foundation.
The Rural Schools Partnership’s annual Rural Schools Rendezvous is set for Thursday, April 23, at Reeds Spring High School.
As usual, the day will include the presentation of Coover Place-Based Education Grants and the introduction of the newest class of the Ozarks Teacher Corps. Other highlights for 2015 are keynote speaker Lavina Grandon, who has taken a leading role in fighting the Act 60 school consolidation legislation in Arkansas, and former CFO president and RSP founder Dr. Gary Funk. A full schedule is below.
Registration begins at 10 a.m. with welcome at 10:30. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Dismissal will be by 3 p.m.
Click here for a map to Reeds Spring High School. Parking is on the back side of the school. Contact the CFO at (417) 864-6199 with questions. Call Reeds Spring High School at (417) 272-8171 if you get lost.
10 a.m.: Registration and Coffee
10:30 a.m.: Welcome & Introductions
10:45 a.m.: Keynote Speaker – Lavina Grandon
“Fighting Act 60: The Battle for the
Heart of a Rural State”
11:30 a.m.: Introduction of the Ozarks Teacher
Announcement of Coover Place-Based Grant Recipients
1 p.m.: Mt. Judea Area Alliance
A conversation about schools, communities, and
coming together to support and enrich education.
2:15 p.m.: Dr. Gary Funk and the Rural Schools
3:00 p.m.: Dismissal