Steering Committee & Advisory Boards

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is responsible for helping to identify essential research and leadership initiatives to inform the main research foci of the Rural Center. The Steering Committee is comprised of knowledgeable individuals with various backgrounds and differing strengths regarding issues facing rural communities, research in educational practice, and community outreach.

Beth Birnstihl, PhD Associate Dean, Cooperative Extension Division
Miles Bryant, EdD Professor, Educational Administration 
Ruth Heaton, PhD Associate Professor, Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education 
Jody Isernhagen, EdD Associate Professor, Educational Administration 
Chris Marvin, PhD Associate Professor, Special Education and Communication Disorders 
Sandra Scofield, PhD Director, University of Nebraska Rural Initiative

National Leadership Advisory Board

The State Leadership Advisory Board will function to maintain bi-directional communication and contact between community stakeholders and the R2Ed leadership team to obtain information, feedback, and recommendations for the ongoing work of the Center. Members of this board hold significant leadership positions in Nebraska, have particular expertise and investment in quality education in rural settings, and represent stakeholders at various levels.

Matt Blomstedt Executive Director, Nebraska ESU Coordinating Council
Roger Breed, EdD Commissioner, Nebraska Department of Education
Michael Dulaney, PhD Executive Director, Nebraska Council of School Administrators
Chad Dumas Principal, Gibbon High School
Kathleen Fimple, PhD Academic Programs Officer, Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education
Jon Habben, PhD Executive Director, Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association
Craig Kautz Superintendent, Hastings, Nebraska Public Schools

National Research Advisory Board

The National Leadership Advisory Board will function to inform and be informed by critical issues and events within the national rural education research and practice communities. Consisting of researchers and practitioners, this board will identify promising areas of research, development, and dissemination for the entire field. Members are stakeholders in rural education from regionally stratified areas and include researchers, members of rural education organizations, and practitioners.

Patti Chance, PhD Chair, Department of Educational Leadership, San Diego State University
Lou Cicchinelli, PhD Executive Vice President, Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
Patricia Hardré, PhD Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research, Jeannie Rainbolt College of Education, University of Oklahoma
Robert Mahaffey, PhD Director of Marketing and Communications, Rural School and Community Trust
Steve Nelson, PhD Director, Office of Planning and Outreach, Education Northwest 
Ray Patrick, EdD President, National Rural Education Association
Rachel Tompkins, EdD Senior Fellow, Rural School and Community Trust

State Leadership Advisory Board

The National Research Advisory Board will inform and be informed by the research studies and help identify research questions critical to improving rural education. Members are nationally or internationally renowned with expertise in research related to rural education.