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Opportunities for students to become teachers in rural areas

For Immediate Release: October 12

Media Contact:
Dr. Chris Craig
Director of the School of Education and Child Development
Office: (417) 873-7344
E-mail: ccraig@drury.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 12, 2010 — As the job market slows and jobs in education become tougher to find, the Ozarks Teacher Corps reaches out to future college graduates to teach in rural school districts. Drury University, Missouri State, and Ozarks Technical Community College have a total of eighteen students in this elite program.

Each student receives $4,000 a year to become a teacher, in return they pledge three years after graduation to a rural district in southwest Missouri. The initiative is possible thanks to a $1.7 million donation administered through Springfield’s Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

“One of my professors came to me and said ‘I know you're from a small town. I think this would be a great opportunity for you’,” said Drury student, Melissa Payne.

Nearly 20 percent of the school-age population attends rural schools. Gary Funk, president of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, hopes that these future teachers will develop into "rural activists”, and stay with their communities long-term.

“There is a glimmer of hope for opportunities for employment,” said Drury School of Education Director, Chris Craig. "I think this is a real unique initiative to show everyone that there are some positive things happening in education.”

In the spring of 2011, the program hopes to add eight more students.

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