Gary Funk

AIRSS, the Rural Teacher Corps, and An Old Twist on a New Problem

In the spring of 2018 AIRSS co-hosted with the Office of the Illinois Governor a Rural Teacher Shortage Convening. This project was coordinated by Sam Buck – Managing Director Of Education Systems in the Office of the Governor, and was focused on introducing Illinois to the idea and concept of the Rural Teacher Corps.

Statewide stakeholders from several higher education partners attended the meeting and I was joined by Gary Funk from the Rural Schools Collaborative to introduce the concept of the Rural Teacher Corp and share the success of the Ozark Teacher Corps based in Springfield, MO.

From this meeting several teacher corps programs have been founded in a disparate fashion without really achieving a statewide effort. We could be stronger together if we could find the common ground to work in concert.

I share these thoughts to serve as a segway to what I believe might be the best article written to date about the teacher shortage in rural schools and the value of a national Rural Teacher Corps Initiative.

The Op-Ed is written by my friend and colleague Gary Funk, whom I worked with to co-found the Rural Schools Collaborative. Please take time to read the article and consider an old twist on a new problem.

Always advocating for you,

David Ardrey
Executive Director
Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools

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