Black Belt

The University of West Alabama’s Rural Education Center anchors our Alabama & the Black Belt Regional Hub.

The University of West Alabama College of Education's Center for Rural Education connects our work to Alabama and the Black Belt regions of Mississippi and Georgia. RSC board member and UWA College of Education dean Dr. Jan Miller serves as the hub contact for UWA’s vital work in addressing education needs of the rural South.

Located in the small town of Livingston, AL, The University of West Alabama sits in the heart of the Black Belt Region. The Black Belt has a unique cultural history, and UWA’s Center for Rural Education works to address critical issues such as rural poverty, teacher shortages, and community vitality across the South.

The relationship between the Rural Schools Collaborative and The University of West Alabama was facilitated by former RSC board member Larry Lee of Montgomery, Alabama, and started with a modest planning grant in 2015. Since that time, under the leadership of Dr. Miller and University president Dr. Ken Tucker, UWA has continued to flourish as a national leader in rural education. This commitment has led to the establishment of several flagship programs, which include:

The Alabama and Black Belt hub at UWA is a national leader in rural teacher recruitment and preparation, including efforts to build a more diverse and representative teaching force. UWA actively cultivates relationships with regional school districts, working hard to increase teacher capacity and build student success in their service region. Rural Schools Collaborative is deeply proud and appreciative of our history and partnership with UWA, and invites you to explore the many inspiring stories of their work below.

UWA College of Education's Project REP

A step forward in bolstering rural schools and sparking community revitalization.

Teacher Profile

Netta Davis

Netta Davis - Sarah, MS

Connecting students lived experiences to history through hands-on learning.

The dedication of a teacher to their students is one of the enduring qualities of the profession. Aquenetta (Netta) Davis, an outstanding rural teacher in Mississippi, has traveled around the country, putting down roots in numerous states through her time in the military and later in education. Yet at each stop along the way, her belief that “all students can learn” has driven her work to educate and inspire everyone who enters her classroom.

Netta spoke with us to share more about her story, and what drives her work to make education and achievement accessible to all. Netta's heart for students shines through in her classroom, where she encourages mutual respect and individualized learning. Netta and her students don't just learn history - they do history.

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