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Left to right: Jeanne Surface, Omaha, NE; Jan Miller, Livingston, AL; and Steven Johnson, Lisbon, ND.

Our Stories

We Are Proud to Announce Three New Advocates

Rural America

September 28, 2016

Three influential educators who are passionate about rural education have agreed to become Advocates for the Rural Schools Collaborative. Our Advocates make important contributions to rural schools and communities in their respective regions, and their willingness to support our work enhances both the credibility and capacity of an organization that was launched in the spring of 2015.

Dr. Jan Miller, Dean for the College of Education at the University of West Alabama; Dr. Steven Johnson, Superintendent, Lisbon (ND) Public Schools; and Dr. Jeanne Surface, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at University of Nebraska Omaha, join eight other advocates from six different states, who already have had a tremendous impact on our work and continued growth.

We thank Jan, Steven, and Jeanne for their outstanding volunteer commitment, and we encourage you to read more about their work below:

Jan G. Miller currently serves as the Dean for the College of Education at the University of West Alabama. Prior to serving in her current role, she served as the Dean for the Division of Online Programs at the University of West Alabama. Dr.Miller has also served as a professor, department chair, and as Faculty Senate president at the University. She has worked at UWA for the last nine years She has provided key leadership in the development of the new Black Belt Teacher Corps. Read more.

Steven L. Johnson is the superintendent of schools for the Lisbon Public Schools in Lisbon, North Dakota. Dr. Johnson returned to his hometown of Lisbon to become the superintendent of schools in 1993, which was the same year as his 20th HS Class Reunion. He is 4th generation of his family to live and work in Lisbon. Dr. Johnson’s great grandfather homesteaded in Lisbon, Dakota Territory in 1880. His grandfather served on the Lisbon school board from 1929-1937 during the Great Depression and his father served on the Lisbon school board from 1956-1962 during school consolidation.

Dr. Johnson received his Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. He received his Master’s from North Dakota State University in Fargo and his undergraduate degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota. Read more.

Jeanne Surface is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at University of Nebraska Omaha. Surface serves as a Faculty Fellow for the University of Nebraska Rural Futures Institute. Dr. Surface currently teaches School Law to students seeking a Master’s degree in educational leadership; and Qualitative Research Methods to doctoral students. Surface serves as a faculty chair and for multiple doctoral dissertations each year.

Surface received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Wyoming. Her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees were both earned at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Dr. Surface was a Leadership Associate graduate from John Goodlad’s Institute for Educational Inquiry program in Seattle, Washington. Read more.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the Rural Schools Collaborative and its work. We need your support! Additionally, we encourage you to check out the entire roster of Rural School Collaborative Advocates.

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