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TEA News Releases Online 10/27/2016
Commissioner Morath forms Texas Rural Schools Task Force

AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Mike Morath today announced the formation of the Texas Rural Schools Task Force. Selected from the 20 Education Service Center (ESC) regions from across the state, task force members will be charged with identifying current challenges and best practices for rural school districts statewide. 

The first meeting of the Texas Rural Schools Task Force took place in Austin today. Task force members will meet over the next several months to share insights and seek opportunities for innovation in the areas of teacher recruitment, teacher retention, resource allocation, use of technology, as well as parent and community engagement.

“Rural school districts across our state are committed to successful student outcomes, but face many educational challenges unique to their size and region,” said Commissioner Morath. “The Texas Rural Schools Task Force will provide an opportunity to identify common issues, exchange strategies for success and provide an avenue to share innovative practices that can strengthen educational opportunities for all students.”  

Members of the Rural Schools Task Force were selected to participate based on outstanding student achievement and a willingness to innovate. The superintendents and school districts on the task force include:


  • Bloomburg ISD – Brian Stroman (ESC Region 8)
  • Bronte ISD – Tim Siler (ESC Region 15)
  • Center Point ISD – Cody Newcomb (ESC Region 20)
  • Channing ISD – Robert McLain (ESC Region 16)
  • Cisco ISD – Kelly West (ESC Region 14)
  • Community ISD – Roosevelt Nivens (ESC Region 10)
  • Ezzell ISD – Lisa Berckenhoff, (ESC Region 3)
  • Era ISD – Jeremy Thompson,   (ESC Region 11)
  • Flatonia ISD – Beverly Mikulenka (ESC Region 13)
  • Floydada ISD – Gilbert Trevino (ESC Region 17)
  • Fort Hancock ISD – Jose Franco (ESC Region 19)
  • Mineola ISD – Kim Tunnell (ESC Region 7)
  • Moody ISD – Gary Martel (ESC Region 12)
  • Ricardo ISD – M.T. “Vita” Canales (ESC Region 2)
  • Roma ISD – Carlos Guzman (ESC Region 1)
  • Sabine Pass ISD – Kristi Heid (ESC Region 5)
  • Seymour ISD – John Baker (ESC Region 9)
  • Snook ISD – Brenda Krchnak (ESC Region 6)
  • Stafford Municipal School District – Robert Bostic (ESC Region 4)
  • Terlingua Common School District – Bobbie Jones (ESC Region 18)


 According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, Texas has more than 2,000 campuses classified as being in rural areas. Nationally, Texas has more schools in rural areas than any other state. More than 20 percent of campuses in Texas are in rural areas.

Texas Rural Schools Task Force members will meet four times in Austin over the next five months. In addition, the task force will host four regional forums in January 2017. Those forums are scheduled to take place in Abilene, Waco, Corpus Christi and Kilgore.

From its meetings and input from the regional forums, task force members will develop final recommendations to be shared with Commissioner Morath in March.

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