Resilient Rural Teachers: Notes from the RSC Staff

Why we do what we do - our favorite stories of 2022

November 29, 2022 |

Rural Schools Collaborative was launched in 2015 by a small group of rural school and community advocates. Our mission is straightforward—to strengthen the bonds between rural schools and communities through place-based engagement, rural philanthropy, and the development of teacher-leaders. RSC is led by a volunteer board of directors and includes 14 Regional Hubs, which are located throughout the United States. A small staff and a group of dedicated Advocates support our work.

As we close 2022 and review all that we accomplished, our staff members reflected on why they continue to be involved in this work. Each staff member shares the impact of RSC's work that they've personally seen, especially in the past year. Truly, the work that we do is to support resilient rural teachers; with this in mind, staff also shared their favorite teacher story from 2022. We encourage you to make a gift in honor of a teacher that has influenced your life. Each donation helps further RSC's work in rural communities.

Savannah Franklund, Development Manager

I am so grateful to work for an organization where I am so passionate about our mission and see our work positively impacting rural communities daily. I truly enjoy watching & helping teachers realize they are leaders and agents of positive change in their rural community, and paving the way for their students to do the same!

One of my favorite teacher stories we recently shared is Mariah Garzee's! Mariah has a contagious passion for place-based education, caring for her rural community and fueling her students with similar passions. Her students are so lucky to have her compassion and leadership in the classroom daily!

Mariah Garzee
Mariah Garzee

Additionally, I really enjoyed Lola Rubio Alberca's international perspective - I always love hearing the similarities & differences between rural communities. I enjoyed hearing about Lola's path to teaching and what an incredible leader she is for her students!

Lola Rubio Alberca
Lola Rubio Alberca

John Glasgow, Programs & Partnerships Manager

One of my favorite things about working at RSC is being able to directly support teachers in the classroom. The ideas and projects they have for their students and communities always excite me. It's been great to support their work all around the country, including in my own hometown!

It's hard to pick just a couple because each story is so unique to a place and person, and tells about another equally true dimension of being a rural teacher. One of my favorites was our feature of Aquenetta Davis. Netta is an amazing educator, and for me her tale of the careers and places she journeyed through to arrive in education is so inspiring.

Netta Davis
Netta Davis

Another favorite of mine is our conversation with Joe Hennessey. I appreciated Joe's strong sense of place, and his determination to cultivate a love of learning among his students by offering them invaluable experiences in the classroom and beyond. Both of those stories together highlight how important and powerful our rural teachers are in shaping the paths of young people.

Joe Hennessey
Joe Hennessey

Hailey Winkleman, Advocacy Media Coordinator

I have loved working with RSC over the past few years because our work raises up the next generation of leaders. By funding place-based projects, advocating for rural schools, and encouraging teacher retention through projects like the Resiliency Guide, we are directly supporting and uplifting young people in rural places. As well, we are raising up diverse perspectives, helping to give rural kids the representation they seek in modern media.

I have had the pleasure of facilitating the I Am A Rural Teacher project, so choosing a favorite teacher story is quite the task! I would say that I really treasured getting to speak in person with several teachers from my local area - Emily Driscoll and Erica Zieren, Barb McArthy and Suzy Tomm, and most recently Vinnie Rivera. I enjoyed the interviews because I know these amazing educators personally; however, the full-circle feeling of paying forward their dedication to the profession through the work we do at RSC really fills my cup.

Vinnie Rivera
Vinnie Rivera

Taylor McCabe-Juhnke, Executive Director

RSC continues to expand through strong relationship development and collaboration with our partners in service of our shared mission to create sustainable rural communities by strengthening the bonds between schools and communities. We want to thank you for your continued support, and we invite you to read this year's annual report: Rural Resilience.

One of my favorite teacher stories this year was Amanda McCraw in Paicines, CA. Many people don't know that one-room school houses still exist, and her quote of “I am the K-8 teacher, I'm the superintendent, I'm the principal and the secretary…I'm actually the only employee of the district, so I wear many many hats!" really exemplifies the innovation and incredible community impact that rural schools and rural teachers bring to the table every day.

Amanda McCraw
Amanda McCraw

Rural teachers and schools are at the heart of their communities. So, one of the biggest ways we can make a lasting impact on rural vitality is to give dollars directly to rural education. It is incredible that we're crossing the milestone of more than $1 million dollars out in grants, and we'll keep working everyday to continue to support our rural partners and teachers till we can give a million more and a million more. I hope you'll consider joining Rural Schools Collaborative in supporting this work - even small gifts stretch so far in a rural classroom, and they all add up to huge collective impact.

Support Our Work

We encourage you to make a gift in honor of a teacher that has influenced your life. Each donation helps further RSC's work in rural communities.

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