National Rural Education Association Official Podcast

Education Podcasts

Welcome to the official podcast of the National Rural Education Association called the Rural Voice. Co-Hosted by Drs. Allen Pratt, Jared Bigham, and Christopher F. Silver, they discuss the common themes and experiences facing teachers, parents, and administrators in elementary and secondary rural education.


United States


Welcome to the official podcast of the National Rural Education Association called the Rural Voice. Co-Hosted by Drs. Allen Pratt, Jared Bigham, and Christopher F. Silver, they discuss the common themes and experiences facing teachers, parents, and administrators in elementary and secondary rural education.






S02E21 – Vaccines, Rural Access and Discussions of Science and Advocacy in promoting healthcare in Rural America. An interview with Mr. Alan Morganand and Dr. Jennie McLaurin

Mr. Alan Morgan National Rural Health Association Alan Morgan serves as Chief Executive Officer for the National Rural Health Association. He has more than 30 years of experience in health policy at the state and federal levels and is one of the nation’s leading experts on rural health policy. Mr. Morgan served as a contributing author for the publication “Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care” and for the publication, “Rural Populations and Health.” In addition, his health policy...


S02E20 - 2022 NREA National Teacher of the Year Interview with Ty White from Willcox High School in Willcox Arizona.

In this episode, we discuss what it means to be a rural teacher with the 2022 NREA National Teacher of the Year Ty White from Willcox High School in Willcox Arizona. Ty shares his experiences growing up outside of a rural copper mining town, and his experiences teaching in the farming and ranching community of Willcox, Az. Like so many people in small-town schools, Ty plays various roles – serving as the knowledge bowl coach, the mentor for the science club, the sponsor of the solar go-kart...


S02E19 - The Pandemic Revisited, a discussion of the current landscape of diseases within the American Educational Context. An interview with Dr. Lisa Costello.

In this episode of the Rural Voice, we are again joined by Dr. Lisa Costello. We discuss the changing landscape of COVID-19 and emerging viruses in the United States. We discuss data tracking approaches to determine changes in the infection rates and new challenges arising in a post-pandemic world, particularly for children, teachers, and administrators. We discuss some methods for addressing infections and protecting children from further diseases. This includes new vaccine boosters for...


S02E18 - Trade Mentorships and the Application of Learning and Skills, and Interview with Kayleen McCabe

In this episode of the Rural Voice, we interview Ms. Kayleen McCabe, a collaborator and subject matter expert from HGTV. She worked on several home improvement television shows. In this episode, we discuss the role of mentoring and experiential learning and how classroom content can contribute to learning for students. She discusses her work with elementary and high schools to show how trade skills and training experience can enrich learning in the classroom. She also discusses the...


S02E17 – Yes, it is ok to Tweet your Success in the classroom – An interview with Eric Sheninger

In this episode of the Rural Voice, the cohosts interview Eric Sheninger, Author, thought leader, and educator, regarding technological innovation in pedagogy and the classroom. Mr. Sheninger is one of our keynote addresses at the upcoming NREA conference. Mr. Sheninger discusses the importance of capitalizing on technology through the framework of meeting kids where they are. For example, he discusses how virtual learning may work best for some children while face-to-face classroom...


S02E16 – Rural Housing and the changing American Landscape, An Interview with NREA Keynote Speaker Mr. Ben Winchester

This episode of the Rural Voice begins our series of interviews with upcoming National Rural Education Conference speakers to be held in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in October of 2022. We Interviewed Mr. Ben Winchester, a former guest on the podcast, regarding the changing trends in housing from urban to rural areas of the United States. They discuss the changing housing landscape and need in communities, the influx of people moving to rural America, and the potential impact on education. While...


S02E15 – A Medical Professional Perspective on COVID 19 and the Impact on Rural Communities. An interview with Dr. Lisa Costello.

In this episode of the Rural Voice, Drs. Allen Pratt and Christopher Silver interview Dr. Lisa Costello regarding her experience and expertise on the COVID-19 Pandemic and vaccines. We discussed the impact of COVID on schools and on children. We discuss the variants and the science behind treatment and invention measures. We discuss the impact of vaccine availability, particularly for children under the age of 5 as well as the comparative approaches to addressing the Pandemic. We discuss the...


S02E14 – Virtual Reality Beyond the Classroom, Career Readiness and Simulated Training. An Interview with Hall Charter and Katelyn Cutshall of TRANSFR.

The Rural Voice interviews Hall Charter is a Director at TRANSFR based in New York City, and Katelyn Cutshall is currently Vice President, Economic Development and Government Relations. We discuss the usefulness of TRANSFR VR and how the technology has advanced beyond the classroom. This technology provides simulated training and exposure for teaching various hands-on skills. This can benefit career-ready training and provides a dynamic approach for training in schools and beyond. This has...


S02E13 - Rural is National an Interview with Representative Mark White District 83 of Tennessee

Today's episode interviews Representative Mark White District 83 representative to the Tennessee General Assembly. Representative White serves as Chair for the Education Administration Committee and has served on several committees related to education. He is also the Director, College of Leadership and Public Service Lipscomb University. In this interview, we discuss policy, budgetary challenges, and rural Tennessee's uniqueness to meet the ever-changing challenges of rural education. We...


S02E12 - Listen, Innovate, Serve an interview with Tim Carter Yavapai County School Superintendent

In Arizona, school superintendents are elected. Superintendent Carter discusses providing services to help schools organize and fund elections. He discusses the importance of active listening to meet the needs of schools. He talks about finding a critical mass in the themes of these discussions. Once critical mass is found, partners are needed to help meet the needs of partner schools to achieve goals and overcome challenges. Further, Superintendent Carter discusses coordinating middle mile...


S02E11 - Rural Adaptation, STEM, and Preparing Non-traditional Students for College

In this episode of the rural voice, we interview Mike Hogg and Denise Yonts regarding rural education, technology, college preparedness, and adaption to the changing COVID world. We discuss utilizing school buses for creating a mobile STEM lab for virtual learning. We discuss how they have created programs to help first-generation and low-income high school students access college, including the social and adaptation skills needed to navigate college post-high school life. We also discussed...


S02E10 – From Policy to Practice and Beyond, An Interview with Randi Weingarten, teacher, author, social activist.

In this episode, we interview Rhonda "Randi" Weingarten at the National Rural Education Association Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ms. Weingarten is most notable for her work on education advocacy and legislation. She served as a teacher from 1991 to 1997 at Clara Barton High School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and as a lawyer for the firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan from 1983 to 1986. In this interview, we discuss the political divide regarding education policy for rural education,...


S02E09 – Small Town Education and the future of Rural Education, and interview with Drs. Devon Brenner, Ann Schulte, and Amy Price Azano.

In this episode, we interview the authors of Teaching in Rural Places Thriving in Classrooms, Schools, and Communities, Drs. Amy Price Azano, Devon Brenner, and Ann Schulte regarding the changing demands of education in rural America. They discuss the importance of geography, culture, and change in rural education. They discuss the socio-economic challenges, diversity in rural education, and methods for addressing these unique populations in terms of pedagogy. Link to the book...


S02E08 -- Why therapy and supportive service challenges to serving rural kids and communities. An interview with Mike Lowers, Director of School Implementation at Presence Learning.

In this episode, we interview Mike Lowers, Director of School Implementation at PresenceLearning, discussing issues within special education, pedagogy, and IEP and speech in addressing support services. We discuss that many rural schools have limited to no resources where students might find special education programs. One issue with this is that some students may have conditions that may not impact them in the classroom but need services such as therapy. Mike suggests that tele-therapy...


S02E07 - From Pumpkins to Pedagogy, an interview with Frey Farms Founder and CEO Sarah Frey.

In today's episode of the Rural Voice, we interview the author of the bestselling book "The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life–and Saved an American Farm." We provide a short introduction to Ms. Frey as well as discuss her vision for rural America and education. We discuss the importance of internet connectivity in rural America and the challenges of growing up in a small rural community. We discuss the need for clear trajectories for rural America, including incentives to encourage high...


S02E06 - The intersections of education, policy, and diversity in rural education, an Interview with Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto

In this episode of the Rural Voice, the cohosts interview Dr. Christina Kishimoto, former state superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education. She discusses the role of educators as influencers and policymakers. She discusses how teachers and principals have significant power to create and sustain lasting change. Dr. Kishimoto suggests partnering with policymakers by inviting them to schools and see education on the ground floor to better understand the daily challenges of...


S02E05 – Rural Education is Not What Others Might Think, A Response to the Recent New York Times Article The Tragedy of America’s Rural Schools by Casey Parks with Guest Panelist Dr. Brad Mitchell.

In this special episode of the Rural Voice, the cohosts Drs. Pratt, Bigham, and Silver invite NREA friend and contributor Dr. Brad Mitchell, to respond to a recent article from the New York Times titled The Tragedy of America’s Rural Schools by Casey Parks, Published Sept. 7, 2021. As noted in this article, the discussants discuss some of the challenges of making overarching claims in a single case study example. We discuss contextual challenges and benefits of education in rural America,...


S02E04 - The Many Roles of the Rural Educator, an Interview with Ms. Laurie Smith, NREA’s 2021 Rural Teacher of the Year

In this episode of the Rural Voice, we interview Ms. Laurie Smith, a 4th-grade teacher in Sumner, Nebraska, and the National Rural Education Association’s teacher of the year for 2021. In this interview, we meet Ms. Smith and discuss her vision for rural education. We explore her approach to creating and maintaining relationships in the community and creating safe learning spaces for students. As noted by Ms. Smith, every child should come to school with empty backpacks meaning kids should...


S02E03 – Rural Education Collaboratives, Partnerships, and the methods for organizing the community of the willing. An interview with Ms. Shannon Nicholas at Colorado Succeeds and Dr. Landon Mascareñaz at Colorado Education Initiative.

For this episode of the Rural Voice, our cohosts Drs. Bigham and Pratt interview Dr. Landon Mascareñaz and Ms. Shannon Nicholas about rural planning, partnerships, and connections between business and education and ways to capitalize on partnerships to better serve rural school districts. They discuss their work and advocacy in Colorado to connect rural school districts with partnerships that align market needs with educational goals. This includes how rural districts of different sizes...


S02E02 - The Charter School Experience in the Rural Southeast United States. An Interview with Ms. Haley Danielle Richardson, Second-Grade Teacher

In this week's episode, we interview Ms. Haley Danielle Richardson, Second-Grade Teacher, University Charter School, Livingston, Alabama. She discusses her experience with rural charter schools and connecting a new charter school and the community. She discusses the role that modeling plays in teaching children to achieve their dreams. Moreover, Ms. Richardson explores her own experience as a teacher and her students' role in enriching her life. She discussed the importance of being a rural...