NSBA Rural Education Summit - April 5 - New Orleans

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This registration is for those who do not plan to attend the full NSBA 2024 Annual Conference but are local and would like to attend the Rural Education Summit only. Those planning to attend the NSBA 2024 Annual Conference and the Rural Education Summit should visit the NSBA 2024 Annual Conference page to register and add the Rural Education Summit as a preconference workshop to their conference registration.

The NSBA 2024 Rural Education Summit is designed for rural school board members to come together, share experiences, and learn from experts in the field. It will delve into crucial topics that are pivotal for the success of rural school districts. From addressing teacher shortages to ensuring effective special education programs, safeguarding school environments, and bridging the digital divide through broadband internet access — featured sessions and discussions will provide you with actionable insights to address these challenges. Whether you serve our sprawling countryside or remote communities, this summit is designed to empower you with insights, strategies, and solutions that cater to the specific needs of rural education. Attendees will explore innovative solutions, exchange ideas, and forge a path forward to strengthen rural education and create better opportunities for students in every corner of our country. (Lunch Included)

Registration Fees

CUBE & NatCon Districts  General 
$300  $355 

Keynote Speaker

 Sheneka M. Williams

Dr. Sheneka Williams
Professor and Chairperson, Department of Educational Administration
Michigan State University

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Schedule (as of 2/20/24)


Friday, April 5

8 – 9:15 a.m. Keynote Presentation
Navigating Diversity in Rural Education
Dr. Sheneka Williams, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Educational Administration, Michigan State University
9:15 – 10 a.m. Student Panel
Insights from Rural Students on the Path to Educational Excellence
10 – 10:15 a.m. Coffee Break
10:15 – 11:45 a.m. Stories From the Field Presentations: Advocating for Equitable Outcomes in Rural Communities
Noon – 1 p.m.   Lunch and National Panel
Empowering Rural Education: Panel Discussion on Collaborative Strategies for Sustainable Impact


  • General Sessions

    8 – 9:15 a.m.

    Navigating Diversity in Rural Education
    Dr. Sheneka Williams will provide a comprehensive exploration of the diverse landscapes and unique challenges that define rural education across the United States. Delving into the intricacies of rural education, Dr. Williams will navigate the distinct contexts that shape learning experiences, ranging from fishing villages in the Northeast to the expansive farmlands in the Southwest and Southeast. Recognizing the inherent variations in these settings, this session underscores the need for nuanced and tailored education policies that acknowledge and address the specific needs of each community across the country. Drawing upon research-based examples and innovative solutions, this session is designed to empower educational stakeholders who govern, lead, and practice in rural contexts with insights and strategies to provide a path toward equitable, effective, and impactful education in their communities.

    Dr. Sheneka Williams, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Educational Administration, Michigan State University

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    9:15 – 10 a.m.

    Insights From Rural Students on the Path to Educational Excellence
    This session will feature students from rural communities in Arizona and Oregon who will engage in a panel discussion that delves into the unique challenges and triumphs of rural education. Students will share their personal experiences, shedding light on the distinctive aspects of their educational journeys and providing valuable perspectives on various facets of rural education, including access to resources, community involvement, and the impact of technological advancements. Through this session, attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the specific needs and aspirations of students in rural settings, enabling school board members to make informed decisions that prioritize inclusivity and excellence.

    Mia Burton, Page High School (AZ)
    Owen Fowler, South Sevier High School (UT)
    Javier Quintana, Phoenix High School, (OR)
    Riley Templeton, Yoncalla High School, (OR)

    Desiree Fowler, Board Member, Page Unified School District (AZ)

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    10:15 – 11:45 a.m.

    Stories From the Field Presentations: Advocating for Equitable Outcomes in Rural Communities
    The promise of public education is for every child to succeed in school and life. To realize this promise, education leaders must actively advocate for every child to be given resources, supports, and interventions based on their needs. This session will feature national education experts and school board members from across the country sharing their personal journeys and inspirational stories to highlight the importance of equitable outcomes for each student in our communities. Presentations will focus on providing intentional supports in the areas of mental health, national research, and Native communities to help participants understand the importance of purposefully including advocacy efforts in planning, promoting, and implementing educational equity initiatives.

    • AIAN Session — Bringing Native Nations Into the Field of Rural Education Through Systems Alignment Leadership
      Over the past few years, the field of rural education has been working to build bridges and partnerships with the field of Indigenous education. This session will offer an overview of some of those efforts. Additionally, since over 90% of Native students attend state-run public schools, this session also will provide a model of thinking about leadership across systems in a manner that allows Native Nations to liberate their sovereign potential in educational systems.

      Alex Red Corn, Ed.D., Osage Citizen; Executive Director, Kansas Association of Native American Education (KANAE); Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Kansas State University, College of Education

    • NBC Session — Fostering Hope in Schools: The HOPE Framework
      It's clear that addressing loneliness and trauma among young people is a critical issue. Fostering hope in our school communities can play a pivotal role in student well-being. Hasan will explore his framework of H.O.P.E. (Humanity, Optimism, Perspective, and Empathy) and how creating a culture of Hope Dealers can be an effective strategy for supporting schools where all students know they belong and matter.

      Hasan Davis, Founder/CEO of Hasan Davis Solutions LLC

    • NHC Session — Changing the Story We Tell: Asset-Based Approaches to Rural Teacher Recruitment and Retention
      The realities of the teacher shortage have reached a critical juncture. Yet, those familiar with rural schools understand that the strengths and possibilities of rural teaching get lost in the national conversation and exacerbate the challenges of recruiting and retaining the next generation of rural teachers and leaders. This session will unpack the deficit narratives of rural living and use a series of case studies from Wisconsin to suggest a path forward built on the strengths of rural schools and communities. 

      Dr. Jenny Seelig, Senior Research Scientist, NORC at the University of Chicago

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    Noon – 1 p.m.

    Empowering Rural Education: Panel Discussion on Collaborative Strategies for Sustainable Impact
    This panel discussion will bring together key leaders from national education organizations committed to supporting rural communities. Representatives from the National Rural Education Association (NREA), Partners for Rural Impact, and the Department of Education will explore innovative approaches and collaborative strategies to enhance the quality of education in rural locations. Panelists will share their expertise and experiences addressing the unique challenges and opportunities that rural school districts face. From fostering community engagement to leveraging technology for effective learning solutions, participants will gain valuable insights into best practices that can be tailored to their specific local contexts.

    Julia Cunningham, Director, Rural Engagement, Office of Communications and Outreach, U.S. Department of Education
    Dreama Gentry, Founder, President and CEO, Partners for Rural Impact
    Dr. Melissa Sadorf, President, National Rural Education Association (NREA)

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Conference Information

  • Cancellations & Refunds

    Should you wish to cancel your registration, you can cancel through My NSBA Portal under the Rural Education Summit event registration. Refund requests must be submitted by February 22, 2024, and will incur a $75 cancellation fee per registrant.

    Registrations canceled on or after February 23, 2024, will not be eligible for refunds. For any inquiries regarding the summit, please reach out to info@nsba.org.

  • Travel & Getting Around


    Free Travel Benefit for the NSBA 2024 Conference Attendees
    Book your airport parking with CheapAirportParking and enter discount code NSBA24 to receive a $10 discount on your airport parking. CheapAirportParking has over 190 parking locations at 34 airports across the US: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, JFK, LaGuardia, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Newark, Oakland, Oregon, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Richmond, Salt Lake, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Ana, Seattle, Tampa, Washington, D.C., and White Plains.

    Click here for information on taxicabs, ride sharing, and other transportation.

  • Convention Center Parking

    Conveniently located near the Crescent City Connection, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center provides safe and convenient parking for guests for a daily fee. Parking Lot F, Zone #33458 provides the closest access to the event.

    Please visit Getting Here - MCCNO for additional information regarding parking rates and driving directions.

    The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention provides ADA parking. Please email parking@mccno.com if you have specific needs.
  • Destination New Orleans

    Looking to relax and have some fun after a long day of learning? Continue the fun while in New Orleans by visiting some of the local tourist attractions. Click here for more information.

  • Safety Protocols & Requirements

    Proof of vaccination status or a negative test result is not required to attend NSBA events. Attendees who are not vaccinated are asked to take an at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test before traveling to the event and should not attend if they test positive or have COVID-19 symptoms. NSBA does not require proof of these measures but encourages attendees to act responsibly and with consideration for the health and safety of others. Mask wearing is not required.