The Ozarks Teacher Corps


The Ozarks Teacher Corps New Class for 2016-17
(Left to right): Colleen Winklepleck, Myrtle; Dylan Johnson, Buffalo; Bailey Soper, Ash Grove; Alicia Lindeman, Aurora; Briona Warden, West Plains; Karley Bassham, Ste. Genevieve; Laura Thompson, Iberia; Ashley Vannada, West Plains.

The Ozarks Teacher Corps develops a cadre of talented teaching candidates who will explore rural education issues, serve as teacher interns in small schools, and commit to teaching in their respective home communities for at least three years.  The overarching purpose of the Ozarks Teacher Corps is to encourage extremely capable and passionate young people to become educators and return to their rural hometowns as teacher-leaders.

This program is made possible by the Chesley and Flora Lea Wallis Trust, a $1.7 million Community Foundation of the Ozarks charitable fund.

The program launched in 2010 with a cadre of 16 teaching candidates—8 juniors and 8 seniors.  Fifteen new participants were added in the spring of 2011, nine in spring of 2012, and nine more in 2013. Over time, the Ozarks Teacher Corps will develop a growing network of educator-activists who recognize the importance of rural education to a sustainable American society.  We also believe that this effort has outstanding potential to attract and leverage additional funders.


OTC New Cass, 2014

OTC New Class, 2013

OTC New Class, 2012


OTC New Class 2015

Ozarks Teacher Corp applicants must be sophomore level (rising juniors) who have been admitted to their respective teacher education programs and have the endorsement of the teacher education program unit head.

Applicants must be students at MSU, MSU-West Plains, OTC, Drury, Evangel or Crowder College.

Applicants must be from a rural community in the Missouri Ozarks.

Applicants must fully understand they are making the commitment to return to their hometown or similar rural community and teach for at least three years.

OTC New Class 2011-12

Applicants must clearly follow the application directions and fully understand the commitment they are about to make for the two-year duration of their participation in the Corps.

If accepted into the program, applicants must agree to attend the Place Based Education Conference each spring.  We will provide transportation to and from the conference.

Students must provide the following application materials:

  • Completed application;
  • An essay on the value of rural schools;
  • A recommendation by their respective teacher education unit head;
  • An endorsement from applicant’s hometown school superintendent. This letter of support should include a commitment to offer to interview the applicant for a position should a suitable opening be available.

OTC Inaugural Class 2010-11

By applying, applicants agree to:

  • Attend selected seminars on rural education issues;
  • Graduate and become certified within a two-year period;
  • Serve as a teacher-intern in a small, rural school (preferably their hometown);
  • Attend the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ annual Rural Schools Rendezvous, scheduled for spring 2017.
  • Return to their hometown as a teacher for a minimum of three years.  If no appropriate position is available, recipients may fulfill their requirement by teaching in another rural Missouri Ozarks’ community.

Upon selection, participants will receive a $4,000 per year scholarship for their junior and senior years.  If recipients do not complete their teaching certification or program or honor their commitment to teach in their hometown (or other rural school), the scholarship will be revoked.

The deadline for application for the Class of 2017 is Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Look for an online application this fall, or speak to your school’s education department.