Rural Education

April 10, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

On the Move

For the first time in decades, the National Rural Education Association has a new executive director and a new home. The group’s leaders hope the fresh start will help them find a stronger voice and spark a surge in membership.

Bob Mooneyham, now retired after 25 years leading the Oklahoma School Boards Association, began work as the NREA’s director on March 15. His office at the University of Oklahoma college of education in Norman is the organization’s new home, after many years at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.

Mr. Mooneyham, an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma, replaces Joseph Newlin, who died last May. Mr. Newlin had led the NREA for nearly 20 years. Al Eads Jr., a retired superintendent from South Carolina who is slated to become NREA president in October, had been the interim director.

Mr. Mooneyham hopes to make the NREA a household name in the thousands of rural school districts across the country. “I want the NREA to be recognized as the most influential education organization in the United States and the world,” he said recently. “You have to have ambitious goals.”

To him, the numbers make sense: Almost 42 percent of the nation’s 89,600 public schools are in rural areas or small towns, according to federal data, which means the NREA’s goal of raising its membership from 1,200 to 10,000 isn’t just a fantasy.

The rural education group dates back to 1907, and reaching the ambitious membership goal by the time the NREA turns 100 would be something to celebrate, Mr. Mooneyham said.

The NREA’s board also wants to increase the group’s role in educational research and gain a stronger legislative voice in Washington.

“The rural schools of America are not receiving proper attention from Congress, and we feel very strongly that the rural children of America need to be served with the same fashion and with the same priority as other children in the nation,” Mr. Mooneyham said.

“We’ve got to develop our grassroots membership,” he added. “A very high percentage of the rural population do vote and what is happening, in many instances, is a disproportionate share of federal funding goes to children whose parents don’t vote.”

The NREA also wants to make professional training more available to rural educators, he said. And, the association is looking to expand the number of workshops and conferences it offers, and to tailor them to its members’ most pressing needs.

—Alan Richard

A version of this article appeared in the April 10, 2002 edition of Education Week


English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Education Civil Rights Groups Sue Tennessee Over Law Against Transgender Student Athletes
The state law bars transgender athletes from playing public high school or middle school sports aligned with their gender identity.
3 min read
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Mark Humphrey/AP