Our Appalachia Regional Hub is lead by Morehead State University and the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, in collaboration with the National Rural Education Association, and covers the Appalachian regions of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

Morehead State University - Volgenau College of Education - Kentucky Lead

Morehead State University has a robust history as a rural-serving teacher preparation institution, and continues to expand vital rural teacher preparation efforts. Dr. April Miller, Dean for the College of Education at Morehead State University, serves as the primary contact for Kentucky in the Appalachia Regional Hub.

Morehead State University’s (MSU) work in preparing teachers to serve the region is longstanding; it began as a normal school, or an institute exclusively to train educators. Joining as a part of RSC’s Appalachia Hub in 2020, Morehead State’s commitment to rural education exemplifies dedication to building strong, resilient rural communities. Morehead State University shares Appalachia hub leadership with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

To expand opportunities for teacher candidates, the MSU Ernst & Sara Volgenau College of Education created the MSUTeach pathway. This program offers the opportunity for STEM students to receive a teaching certification along with their Bachelor of Science degree. Most students in the program are from Eastern Kentucky, and training STEM graduates to teach enables those teaching candidates to return to their home communities, certified and confident, to begin teaching careers.

MSU was also the recipient of RSC’s 2021 Catalyst Initiative Grant funding to spur the development of their own rural teacher corps effort. The University used its planning grant to roll out the Appalachian Future Educator Scholarship Program. This program recruits students from MSU’s 22-county service region in eastern Kentucky, and provides them with a scholarship, mentoring opportunities, and other support as they progress toward becoming teacher educators in rural Kentucky. This enhances the pipeline of qualified educators and educational leaders by strengthening partnerships with school districts in identifying, recruiting, and mentoring students from the region to return to their home communities as rural teacher-leaders.

Shawntasia Butler photot feature 2

Teacher Profile: Shawntasia Butler - Morehead, KY

Teaching students how to value the ways that diverse rural communities celebrate their differences while bonding over what makes them the same.

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University of Tennessee-Chattanooga School of Education - Tennessee Lead

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga a leader in fostering impactful rural collaborations at the local, regional, and national levels. Dr. Allen Pratt, Executive Director of the National Rural Education Association and the Interim Co-director for the UTC School of Education, serves as the primary contact for Tennessee in the Appalachia Regional Hub.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga School of Education (UTC) has a strong track record of supporting rural schools and education. In addition to serving as an anchor for rural communities of the southern Appalachian Mountains, UTC also plays host to RSC partner National Rural Education Association. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga shares Appalachia hub leadership with Morehead State University.

Dr. Allen Pratt, Executive Director of the National Rural Education Association and the Interim Co-director for the School of Education, reflects the results of this collaboration: “This partnership has allowed us to bring opportunities to rural districts in the area that they may not have seen from UTC in a while. That ability to meet their needs and what they’re looking for fits into how we’re sharing this work as a rural teacher hub.”

Tennessee has captured well-earned national spotlight in recent years for how colleges, universities, schools, and educators have embraced new approaches to education in the post-pandemic space. Some of these hallmarks include Tennessee’s first-in-the-nation Teacher Apprenticeship Occupation programs and effective support mechanisms assisting students’ academic recovery since 2020. This includes the University of Tennessee System’s Tennessee Grow Your Own (GYO) Center, which establishes GYO Hubs at each of the four UT schools, including Chattanooga. Learn more about what’s happening in our Appalachia Hub below.

Taylor Kilgore and Linda Hooper photo feature

Teacher Profile: Taylor Kilgore and Linda Hooper - Whitwell, TN

These two outstanding educators share how the Paper Clips Project has not only been a classroom lesson for their students, but a medium for deeper understanding and connection between community members.

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