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Austin Peay State University to host fourth Rural Education Conference

By: Megan Simpson February 27, 2024

Dr. Cheryl Lambert
Dr. Cheryl Lambert.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Registration is open for the fourth annual Rural Education Conference, hosted by the Center for Rural Education at Austin Peay State University and taking place virtually from 8 a.m. - noon CST, March 19.

This year's theme is "Innovating the Rural Experience: Growing Student Leaders, Pioneering Teacher Ed Initiatives and Enhancing Community Partnerships."

The half-day conference — free to attendees — brings educators, administrators, policymakers, researchers and students together to discuss rural education innovations. According to the Tennessee Rural Education Association, 49% of the state’s school districts are in rural areas. With this in mind, sessions are crafted to address the unique challenges and opportunities in rural education.

Conference sessions will focus on integrating AI in the classroom, microteaching, school-community partnerships and more. Session speakers include higher education faculty and staff members, K-12 school leaders and educational consultants. The full conference schedule is available here

The conference program includes 16 sessions, which attendees can mix and match based on their interests. Conference registration is free for all attendees this year, but registration must be completed on the APSU Center for Rural Education website to receive access to information for the virtual sessions. 

"While rural schools can face real challenges, they also showcase tremendous strengths," said Dr. Cheryl Lambert, coordinator of the Center for Rural Education. "This conference provides a platform to share expertise and reimagine what’s possible to create and maintain thriving rural schools."

The Center for Rural Education, housed within the Eriksson College of Education, spearheads efforts to support PreK-12 schools across rural Tennessee through research, teacher preparation, professional development and community partnerships.

Lambert launched the Center for Rural Education in 2018 after an extensive career as a classroom teacher and educational leader in rural communities throughout West Tennessee. Known for her leadership in rural education, Lambert will moderate a panel of educational experts during the SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas in March.

The center has equipped rural schools with 3D printers and Lego Education sets to enhance the classroom experience, and Lambert welcomes rural principals and teachers to contact her directly to collaborate. She can be reached via email at lambertc@apsu.edu.

Register or learn more about the Rural Education Conference at apsu.edu/education/ruraled/conference. Early registrants will receive a complimentary Center for Rural Education T-shirt. Supplies are limited, so register today!

About the APSU Center for Rural Education

Established in 2018 and located in the Martha Dickerson Eriksson College of Education at Austin Peay State University, the Center for Rural Education works to enhance educational opportunities in nine underserved rural Tennessee counties by providing professional development for educators, recruiting and preparing teachers committed to rural schools, securing funding for rural education initiatives and increasing college access for rural students. Focusing on areas of need identified by rural school districts, the center aims to continue former APSU President Dr. Philander Claxton's passion for supporting schools in remote and sparsely populated regions facing challenges like geographic isolation, limited resources and teacher shortages.