New class joins Ozarks Teacher Corps for 2015-16 school year

The Rural Schools Partnership recognized 10 new members of the Ozarks Teacher Corps at its annual Rural Schools Rendezvous in Reeds Spring in April.

Each of the 10 students is a teaching education major, representing Evangel University, and Missouri State University campuses in both Springfield and West Plains. Each student will receive $4,000 scholarships for both of their last two years of school. In exchange, they must agree to teach at least their first three years in a small district – defined in the Ozarks as anything outside of Springfield or Joplin – and attend Ozarks Teacher Corps events over the next two years.

These students’ reasons for applying for the Ozarks Teacher Corps  – besides a sizeable scholarship, funded by the Chesley and Flora Lea Wallis Trust – all come back to their own experiences growing up, and a desire to sustain small communities.

The members of this year’s class are (pictured, left to right): Samantha Orr, Fair Grove; McKenzie Moreland, Pierce City; Blane Redus, Marionville; Nathan Christeson, Cabool; Ashley Howell, West Plains; Jennifer Cockrum, Bakersfield; Whitney Randolph, Eminence; Danielle Best, Strafford; Brittany Witt, Lake Ozark; and Becky Wells, Republic.

Since 2010, 68 students have been accepted to the Ozarks Teacher Corps and more than 90 percent have found employment in rural districts following graduation. For more information on scholarship program, go to

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