Editor's note: Mykie Nash was a member of the inaugural Ozarks Teacher Corps, which was established in 2009. With a placement rate of 94%, the Ozarks Teacher Corps has helped provide scores of teacher-leaders to communities in the Missouri Ozarks. As the Rural Schools Collaborative continues its work to promote the "rural teacher corps concept," we thought Mykie's reflections were reasoned and worthwhile.
A Personal Reflection, by Mykie Nash, Assistant Principal, Pate Early Childhood Center, Aurora R8 School District
Being accepted as part of the inaugural class of Ozarks Teacher Corps was an honor and a
blessing. The connections I made with fellow educators and those passionate about educating
rural students in Missouri provided me with insight, skills, and valuable networking opportunities
that continue to have an impact on me as an educator and leader.
As part of the Ozarks Teacher Corps, I anticipated learning more about the issues with which rural schools are faced, but what I didn’t anticipate was the opportunity to be inspired by visiting other rural districts in our area. Visiting Hartville and Leeton schools gave me the chance to listen to school leaders share their stories and see the “grassroots work” that teachers and administrators were doing to create project-based learning opportunities to benefit their students and community. Each year, I looked forward to the annual Thomasville Rendezvous as an opportunity to hear motivational speakers, gain insight into new issues facing rural schools, and have an opportunity for rich discussions with other future educators.
The commitment to teaching in a rural school was a natural choice for me, and that commitment led me to Aurora, where I encountered experiences as a first-year teacher that I recall as both inspirational and heartbreaking. I quickly realized that my calling was not only to provide kids in rural schools with an education in reading and writing, but to be an adult figure that can provide safety, a sense of community, consistency, and sometimes unconditional love and support. Being part of the Ozarks Teacher Corps and having the chance to see how other schools handle issues like poverty, lower financial resources, and transient student populations helped me realize that I could make a difference.
After being part of the Ozarks Teacher Corps, and building a relationship with those at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, I felt drawn to school leadership to increase the impact I can have on young student lives in rural Missouri. Upon completion of my undergraduate degree, I earned my Master’s degree in School Administration, and I am currently working on my doctoral degree in Educational Administration so that I can continue to put myself in a position to have a bigger impact on the students’ lives in rural southwest Missouri.
I truly believe it was not by chance that I became a member of Ozarks Teacher Corps; the inspirational stories, motivational speakers, learning opportunities, and networking possibilities have played an integral role in my life as an educator and leader.
We invite you to learn more about our efforts to build on the rural teacher corps concept.
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