Our Iowa Hub is anchored by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.

Strong schools are essential to strong rural communities, which is why the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque facilitates initiatives focused on issues of student achievement and building bridges between schools and communities. Jason Neises, Community Development Coordinator at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, serves at the hub contact for Iowa.

With affiliate foundations across the seven-county Dubuque region of northeastern Iowa, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque has a long history of building trusting relationships with leaders in rural communities to chart clear paths forward that address complex social challenges, from academic achievement to economic opportunity.

As the Community Development Coordinator for the Community Foundation, Jason Neises has witnessed firsthand how rural communities can rally together to achieve common goals. "We’re hoping to build people’s perceptions beyond themselves or their small circles. For example, we encourage people to consider how all aspects of the community benefit from a strong local school,” Neises explains.

By bringing key stakeholders, such as local schools, in rural towns together, Jason and his team are reaffirming and strengthening the bonds between place, people, and education. He shares that whenever the Community Foundation partners with local towns to launch a development initiative, "every single town says that their schools are an asset."

As RSC’s Iowa hub, the Community Foundation will continue to support thriving rural communities, and enhance the vitality of rural education by bridging local generosity, ingenuity, and leadership with efforts like teacher training and place-based learning. To see stories from our Iowa hub, explore below.

Teacher Profile

Jamie Fehring

Jamie Fehring - Bedford, IA

Encouraging inquiry and inclusivity in rural Iowa.

Teachers are more than vehicles for curriculum. While teaching students the basic knowledge and skills required to live a fulfilling life is unquestionably part of the profession, educators also bring their own experiences to bear in their work. Jamie Fehring, a middle school science teacher from Bedford, Iowa, didn’t begin her career as a teacher. Beginning with a career as a scientist, and more recently a mother, Jamie’s lived experiences have defined her first three years in the classroom, creating a class environment which embodies, and encourages, inquiry and inclusivity.

Jamie shares that she has “always had a passion for our environment, for science, for space, just for all of it.” Graduating with a degree in Fisheries Biology, Jamie received a scholarship from the American Fisheries Society in 2004 and spent time working for local fish hatcheries before transitioning to a genotyping lab. But after just her first day as a substitute teacher, Jamie knew she had found her next career: “I got home that day and I sat down with my husband and I was just like, ‘I have never loved a job so much. That's what I'm supposed to do. I am supposed to be an educator.’”

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