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About Us

We are very excited that the Rural Education Institute (REI) has been elevated to a college-level institute located in Greenville, North Carolina. North Carolina has the 2nd highest number of rural students in the country- 568,161; roughly 40% of its overall percentage of public school students. Additionally, North Carolina has a student population that is poorer and more diverse than most other states (Showalter, Klein, Johnson, and Harman, 2017). REI is housed in East Carolina University’s College of Education (COE). The COE is one of the largest producers of teachers in NC and the chief supplier of teachers to the state’s eastern region. The COE has a formal partnership with 43 public school districts in eastern NC. These rural districts are challenged by high levels of economic need, low performing schools, elevated teacher turnover rates, Health Professional shortage areas for mental and physical health, and difficulty staffing schools with fully-licensed educators teaching in their areas of certification (Harmon, 2007).

Vision

REI seeks to grow and leverage research-practice partnerships that address educational disparities and ensure access to high quality education through targeted research, policy development, and professional learning.  REI values collaboration with school and community partners in exploring common problems of practice through the engagement of varying perspectives. REI supports the National Rural Education Association 2016-2021 research priorities in equal educational opportunity and building capacity to advance rural students’ educational achievements. REI is committed to furthering understanding of key rural contextual factors through the lens of continual improvement.

History

In 1982, the College of Education received a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to establish the Rural Education Institute. The Rural Education Institute (REI) was developed to increase awareness of the unique strengths and needs of rural schools in eastern North Carolina. In 1984 the North Carolina General Assembly appropriated funds for ECU’s REI and established a counterpart at Western Carolina University. During this time, REI provided support in curriculum, management, organizational, personnel, technology, policy, and risk management audits for public school systems. In July 2002, REI was reorganized to align the institute with several national organizations and universities that focus on rural education issues. With shifts in funding and priorities, REI currently focuses support on the Clinical Teacher conferences and multiple outreach initiatives for middle school and/or high school students from the region.  These efforts are intended to strengthen the college’s clinical partners’ PK-12 educational opportunities and to recruit, prepare, and support teachers in rural eastern North Carolina (Davis, 2017). While this work will remain under the Office of Educator Preparation, REI has recently been moved under the Dean’s office as a college-wide initiative and is under revisioning to better meet the needs of our school-university-community partnerships.

College News
Glatthorn 17-8
Dr. Kenyann Brown Stanford Receives 2017 Glatthorn Distinguished Dissertation Award
The College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership named Dr. Kenyann Brown Stanford as the winner of the 2017 Glatthorn Distinguished Dissertation Award for her dissertation: EVALUATING EQUITY IN STUDENT DISCIPLINE: A PROGRAM EVALUATION OF POSITIVE BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION AND SUPPORT IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SETTING (Under the direction of William Rouse, Jr.).  Department of Educational Leadership, April 2017. Dr. Stanford is the Assistant Principal at Fuller Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh. The award is named for Dr. Alan A. Glatthorn Professor Emeritus of East Carolina Continue reading →

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Megan Lawson
In award-winning elementary math teacher’s class, whole is greater than sum of its parts
Megan Lawson has undergone a conversion. She was never a good math student. We didn’t particularly enjoy teaching math when she started in the classroom 10 years ago. Today, she is the 2017 Outstanding Elementary School Mathematics Teacher for Lenoir County Public Schools. “It was not a good subject for me,” said Lawson, a kindergarten teacher at Pink Hill Elementary School for the past five years. “It’s my favorite subject now.” What changed her mind – and focused her career – was her participation in Continue reading →

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cropped-COE_primary_PurpleGold512x512.jpg
Rural Education Project Lands $999,751 Grant
Bringing computer science and computational thinking to rural school districts is the goal behind the iCS4All project, which the NSF recently awarded a $999,751 grant. The project, named Integrating the Computer Science for All Initiative in Three Rural Eastern NC School Districts (iCS4All), will be led by principal investigator Matt Militello, the ECU College of Education’s Wells Fargo Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership, co-principal investigator Martin Reardon, assistant professor in education leadership, and include partnerships with the ECU Department of Computer Science, and the Friday Continue reading →

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Contact Us

For more information about our programs, please contact:

Kristen Cuthrell, Ed.D.
Associate Professor and Interim Director
1008-A Bate Building
252-328-5748
cuthrellma@ecu.edu