We are pleased to announce that Dr. Jane Ward has been named the Rural Schools Collaborative's very first Rural Education Fellow. This appointment is a cooperative venture between Missouri State University, Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Rural School Collaborative.
Jane is a lifelong rural Missouri resident. She completed undergraduate studies in 1985 at Missouri State University in Springfield, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. Jane went on to complete her Master of Education degree in Special Education at Arkansas State University (ASU) in 1989. She then earned a second Master of Education degree in Guidance and Counseling at ASU in 1993. Jane returned to Missouri State University and completed her Specialist in Education degree with an emphasis in Special Education Administration in 2000. Her doctoral degree was conferred in 2015.
Jane's teaching career began at Oregon County R-IV School District in Alton, Missouri, from 1986 to 2000. During this time, she taught early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school students. She also served as school counselor and special services director. Oregon County is in the heart of the Ozarks, and is an extremely rural county steeped in the tradition and history of the region.
Currently, Dr. Ward is employed at Missouri State University as an instructor in the College of Education. Her University activities include chapter advisor of Student-Missouri State Teachers Association at the Missouri State University-West Plains Campus and coordinator of the Missouri Educators for Tomorrow’s Schools program. Jane's community involvement is focused on local advisory committees and the Koshkonong School Betterment Foundation.
As a Rural Education Fellow, Jane will work closely with the Ozarks Teacher Corps, which is funded by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. She will also serve as a liaison for her region with the Rural Schools Collaborative. Telling the stories of teachers and students is a key aspect of the Rural Schools Collaborative, and Jane will assist in sharing important school-centered work that occurs in what are often perceived as isolated small communities. "Jane is a committed educator and an outstanding person," said Dr. Chris Craig, deputy provost at Missouri State and Rural Schools Collaborative advocate. "She will represent our University and the region very well."
Jane said, "I look forward to becoming more involved with the Rural Schools Collaborative and area rural schools to promote place-based learning and sharing the unique stories of the communities." She added, "Rural schools and communities have a rich resource base to provide authentic education experiences for both public school students and pre- service teachers. I am excited for the opportunity to share and promote the goals of the Rural Schools Collaborative in support of area schools and communities."
Congratulations to Dr. Ward. We truly appreciate Jane's commitment and zeal for rural schools!
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