Missouri Ozarks

Our Missouri Ozarks Hub hosts are the Rural Schools Partnership & Ozarks Teacher Corps, programs of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

The Rural Schools Collaborative and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks' Rural Schools Partnership continue to collaborate on building strong rural school communities. Beth Hersh, Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) Director of Scholarships, and Dr. Barri Tinkler, Dean of the College of Education at Missouri State University, coordinate Rural Schools Collaborative's rural initiatives in the Missouri Ozarks region.

Missouri State University opened the Center for Rural Education in 2023, and is co-led by Dr. Diana Piccolo and Dr. Rhonda Bishop. Housed in the College of Education, the center serves as a hub to organize and promote rural school outreach and partnerships. Additionally, The Community Foundation of the Ozarks's Rural Schools Partnership was established in 2009, and it serves more than 50 counties in southern Missouri. The Rural Schools Partnership includes the following efforts:

Ozarks Teacher Corps

An endowed program that supports the development of teacher-leaders for rural Ozarks school districts. Built on working partnerships with Missouri State University--West Plains and Drury University, the Ozarks Teacher Corps has a placement/retention rate of 93%. In the spring of 2019 an extensive report was released on the impact of the Ozarks Teacher Corps.

Coover Regional Place-based Grants Program

Since its inception this effort has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to place-based education efforts throughout the region. This is the flagship program of the Rural Schools Collaborative's Grants in Place program.

School Foundation Building

The Rural Schools Partnership works with more than 70 rural school foundations and has created more than $27 million in permanent rural education assets.

RSC’s long-standing relationship with so many educational leaders in the Missouri Ozarks is a source of pride and confirmation that investing in rural communities is essential to their stability and success. To see more of our partners’ work, explore below.

CFO's Rural Schools Partnership

Opportunity Rural: Event Presents Study on Impact of Ozarks Teacher Corps

Good things are happening down in the hills of the Ozarks. A new path to rural renewal is being charted by a foundation, a university, rural school districts, and small communities. This collaborative approach was in plain view during the 2019 Rural Schools Partnership Forum held at Missouri State University-West Plains.

Sponsored by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, the two-day session brought together school district leaders, local school foundations, higher education personnel, and the Ozarks Teacher Corps. Work with the latter focused on the value of place-based education, and it was facilitated by presenters from Teton Science Schools.

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