Supporting High-Quality Rural Education - Regional Institute

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) and the Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) hosted the Regional Institute, Supporting High-Quality Rural Education, at the Embassy Suites Austin - Central Hotel in Austin, Texas, on November 5–7, 2014. This institute was by invitation only for educators at state-level agencies and organizations who are engaged in efforts to support rural education.

The purpose of the Institute was to provide the opportunity for state educators working in rural education to network with their counterparts from other states, engage in conversations with experts in the field, and meet with nationally recognized educators and researchers on critical topics related to this work that were identified by participating states.

Institute Outcomes

  • Increased clarity regarding the challenges and opportunities for enhancing student learning that are unique to rural education
  • Generated ideas and identified strategies for supporting rural administrators, teachers, and staff with their efforts to reduce the academic performance gap among students
  • Engagement with national experts around state-specific rural education issues and networking with other professionals whose work involves supporting rural education


Chuck Benigno
Superintendent, Laurel School District, Mississippi

Title: Rural Education...A Game of Inches
Description: Dr. Chuck Benigno, motivational speaker and author of Teaching: Excellence or Survival? conducted this high-energy presentation using educational research, real-world examples, and video clips to focus on the keys to creating dynamic rural learning environments.

Shelley Billig
Vice President, RMC Research Corporation

Title: Mind the Gap: Closing the Achievement Gap in Rural Districts
Description: Much has been written about this challenge of closing the achievement gap between students of poverty and their more affluent peers for urban sites, but too little research has been conducted to understand what works in rural districts. This presentation provided information on promising practices for rural districts based on an extensive review of the research and the practical wisdom of those superintendents who have been successful in narrowing or closing the gap.

Lucy Johnson
ED Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach

Title: Federal Priorities for Rural Education
Description: The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has long recognized the particular challenges facing rural schools, which it currently seeks to address through the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) initiatives of Title VI, Part B, of the reauthorized ESEA. This session focused on the vision for these and other initiatives of ED that are specifically designed to support high-quality rural education.

For information about additional speakers and access to presentation materials, please contact us.

Event Information

November 5, 2014
1:45 PM - 1:45 PM