Rural Teacher Corps

The Ozarks Teacher Corps is an excellent example of collaborative and intentional work to prepare leaders for small, rural communities.

Group members pose for a photo after a recent meeting in Mountain Grove, Missouri.

Rural Teacher Corps

Redefining rural leadership


The recruitment, preparation and retention of outstanding rural teacher-leaders is an essential element of the Rural Schools Collaborative's work. We believe a Twenty-First Century Rural Teacher Corps can spearhead educational innovation and serve as a catalyst for thoughtful rural renewal. RSC provides a strong rationale for a Rural Teacher Corps with specific recommendations on how to move forward with this concept. In addition, we are proud to work with exemplary rural teacher corps efforts.

Our work began when the Rural Schools Collaborative board of directors made a Rural Teacher Corps planning grant in conjunction with Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU). This planning grant is based on the continued success of Missouri’s Ozarks Teacher Corps, which has been in existence since 2009. Funding from the Rural Schools Collaborative, Dakota Wesleyan University, and an anonymous donor supported the $10,000 planning project.

Jim Beddow, RSC board vice-chairman and DWU president emeritus, played a valuable role in developing this project. Beddow said, “Encouraging higher education institutions to address rural issues in a more intentional manner is a primary RSC objective, and partnering with DWU in this endeavor is of great value to our work. Our hope is that, together, we can launch a multi-state discussion on how rural teachers can be agents for the common good.”

  • Making The Case: Why is the Rural Teacher Corps concept important to the future of rural communities? Learn why education in the linchpin issue in rural economic development.
  • Exemplary Efforts: Learn how existing programs that embody Rural Teacher Corps concepts are already impacting rural communities.
  • Recommendations: On June 13-14, 2016 a group of rural school and community activists gathered on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan University to discuss how they might create a better future for their rural schools and communities. At the center of their discussions was the essential question: How do we work together to strengthen the recruitment, preparation, and placement/retention of future rural teacher-leaders? Here is a summary of their work.

Read more about our efforts and check out the latest media recognition on this concept. If you or your institution would like to participate in the Rural Teacher Corps planning project, please contact Rural Schools Collaborative director, Gary Funk, at 417-848-9083 or gfunk@ruralschoolscollaborative.org.