Celebrating 30 Years of CORAS ~ Past Leaders Recognized
This year represents the 30th year of continuing advocacy, professional development and leadership of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools. Past Presidents and other leaders in CORAS were recognized for their contribution to the organization. Past presidents attending were: Jack Payton, Bud Bethel, Fred Steinbrecker, Larry Miller, Richard Fisher, Jacalyn Osborne, and Tim Lairson. In addition, Dr. Max Evans, Bill Phillis and Dr. Aimee Howley were recognized for their support and guidance to the organization.
April Meeting Plans for Upcoming Year
CORAS Superintendents at the April meeting prioritize interests for future meetings. Superintendent Dalton Summers reports on his involvement in the Cupp Patterson Committee on school funding.
President Karen Boch Recognized
President Karen Boch was recognized at the April Meeting for her year of service as CORAS president by Executive Director Richard Murray.
McNulty Works with University Faculty and CORAS Superintendents to discuss the importance of Principal Leadership March 19 and 20, 2019.
Dr. Brian McNulty met with CORAS superintendnets to discuss the importance of Principal Leadership. At this meeting he was also presented the 2018-19 Hicks Executive in Residence.
Prior to the CORAS meeting on March 20th, Dr.McNulty met with Patton College Faculty to discuss research findings on the importance of teacher leadership.
Brian McNulty 2018-19 Hicks Executive in Residence
Dr. Brian McNulty has been named the 2018-19 Hicks Executive in Residence. Dr. McNulty will provide two presentations to the CORAS and Ohio University communities. On March 19 Dr. McNulty will present: How do schools get better? A research and field-based review of what we have learned in Ohio for university faculty, students and community members. This presentation will be held at The Patton College of Education. On March 20 Dr. McNulty will present to CORAS members and guests: The critical role of principals in school improvement and what this means for superintendents and central office staff. What we have learned in Ohio in the last 10 years.
Dr. McNulty is a founding partner with Creative Leadership Solutions and brings 35 years experience as a nationally recognized educator in leadership development to his current position at Creative leadership Solutions. Prior to this he was the Vice President for leadership Development at the Leadership and Learning Center and has also served as the Vice President for Field Services at the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL); Assistant Superintendent for Adams County School District 14 in Commerce City, Colorado and the Assistant Commissioner of Education for the Colorado Department of Education.
Although Dr. McNulty is well known as a both a researcher and a keynote speaker, his primary work has focused on long-term intensive partnerships with schools, districts, state education agencies and educational service agencies in applying the current research to field based problems. His recent research has focused on developing continuous improvement frameworks based on data and inquiry.
In Ohio, Dr. McNulty is probably best known for his work with the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council, Ohio Leadership for Inclusion, Implementation, & Instructional Improvement (OLi4) and the Ohio Department of Education. In these positions, Dr. McNulty has helped to strengthen leadership skills in Ohio superintendents, principals and teachers.
Brian’s work and writing have been featured in books, scholarly journals and periodicals throughout the world. An author of more than 50 publications, Brian’s most recent books include, Leaders Make It Happen with Laura Besser (an AASA member book) and School Leadership that Works: from Research to Results, an ASCD best selling publication co-authored with Robert Marzano and Tim Waters.
McNulty, B. A., and Besser, L. (2014). Leaders make it happen: An administrators guide to data teams. Boston MA: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt. (HMH)
Telfer, D., & McNulty, B. A., (2014). Students with Disabilities: Moving Your Numbers in Navigating Achievement for Struggling Students with the Common Core State Standards. (eds.) Englewood CO: Lean + Learn Press
McNulty, B. A., (2011). Leaders developing learning systems. In Activate: A leaders guide to people, practices and processes. (eds.). Lead + Learn Press. Englewood CO.
Lloyd, J., McNulty, B.A., and Telfer, D. (2009). The Ohio improvement Process. www.ohioleadership.org
McNulty, B. A. (2009). Actions of effective leaders. AdvancED Source. Spring 2009. Decatur GA.
Marzano, R.J., Waters, J.T., & McNulty, B.A. (2005). What Works in School Leadership: Research to Results. ASCD, Alexandria, VA.
McNulty, B.A. & Bailey, J. (2004). McREL’s balanced leadership framework: School leadership that Works. Journal for Effective Schools, 3(1), 17-23.
Waters, J.T., Marzano, R.J., & McNulty, B. (2004). McREL’s balanced leadership framework: Developing the science of educational leadership. ERS Spectrum, 22(1), 4-13.
Waters, J.T., Marzano, R.J., & McNulty, B. (2004). Leadership that sparks learning. Educational Leadership, 61(7), 48-51.
McNulty, B.A., Waters, T. J., Marzano, Robert J. (2003). Balanced Leadership: What 30 Years of Research Tells Us about the Effect of Leadership on Student Achievement, McREL.
October, 2018 CORAS Meeting
At the October CORAS meeting members were learned more about how to support children and families in crisis. Dr. Stephanie Starcher, Superintendent from Fort Frye Local Schools spoke on “Healthy Minds, Bodies and Relationships” and Ms. Becky Cropper from the Brown County ESC spoke on the 40 Developmental Assets, School/Community Partnership. State School Board Member Stephanie Dodd spoke on Each Child, Ohio’s Future, Ohio’s 5 Year Strategic Plan.
September 19, 2018 CORAS Meeting
The first CORAS meeting of 2019 was very well attended by over 75 members and guests. Members received information from Nicole Donovsky, Bricker and Eckler, and Hinda Mitchell, Inspire PR Group, on how to respond to crises and discuss the legal and communications strategies implemented. The presentation: “Preparing Your School for a 21st Century Crisis: It’s not If, but When, it Happens.” led participants in an interactive, educational training about how school districts can best prepare for crises, successfully engage stakeholders during difficult times, and assure a path to reputation recover.
In addition, members worked with Dr. Jim Mahoney from the Voinovich Center of Public Affairs as he provided an opportunity for superintendents to identify the 5 most important funding issues to CORAS area schools.
June Meeting Honors Retiring Superintendents
At the final CORAS meeting of the 2017-18 school year, CORAS superintendents learned about current issues impacting the state of Ohio from BASA Executive Director, Dr. Kirk Hamilton. In addition, retiring superintendents were honored. Accepting a plaque from Executive Director Richard Murray is Greg Holbert who retired as Superintendent of Southern Local Schools in Perry County.
Stephen Dyer, 2017-18 Hicks Executive in Residence Speaks to University Faculty, Students and CORAS Membership
On March 20, 2018, Mr. Stephen Dyer the 2017-18 Hicks Executive in Residence spoke with the Patton College Community on how Charters and Vouchers have drastically changed the funding for public schools in Ohio. Drawing from his vast research and data on schools in Ohio since 2006, Dyers portrayed a very dire picture of how legislators in Ohio have continued to drain public school funds by supporting and moving funds to charter schools and voucher systems. Dyer pointed out that over $330 million of local funds in Ohio have had to supplant the funds taken by the state to support charter schools and vouchers, the majority going to failing charter schools.
On March 21, 2018, Dyer presented to CORAS membership the current state of school funding in Ohio and how moving from a process for funding schools has led to an actual decrease of funding to schools in Ohio over the past 12 years. At the end of his presentation, Dyer was presented the Hicks Executive in Residence Award for his outstanding contribution to the field of Educational Administration.
Stephen Dyer Named 2017-18 Hicks Executive in Residence
Stephen Dyer is currently the Education Policy Fellow at Innovation Ohio, a Columbus-based Progressive think tank, where he fights for the right of all Ohio’s children to receive a world-class education, regardless of where they live. He has authored several reports for IO that have sought to ensure the fundamental right of every Ohio child to a world-class education. He is widely considered one of the state’s top education policy experts, and one of the few people in the country with the experience of actually implementing and leading the debate on every major aspect of education reform from teacher quality to student achievement to school choice to equitable financing. He has been published in Education Week – the nation’s education policy newspaper of record, as well as The 74 and Real Clear Education. He recently spent a year as a fellow with the Education Policy Fellowship Program through the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C. and served as part of an American delegation to observe the Chinese education system in Shanghai and Beijing.
Dyer also is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Akron, where he has received accolades for his classroom teaching.
Dyer has spent his career serving his community, first as an award-winning journalist with the Akron Beacon Journal, then as an award-winning State Representative representing Ohio’s Summit and Portage counties.
As a reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal for nine years, he reported on some of the most pressing issues of our time: government corruption, the fight against terrorism, the denial of legal rights, and crime against children. Dyer won awards and recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press and the Cleveland Press Club. He collaborated on an innovative project called “Ohio: Look at the State We’re In” that analyzed where Ohio ranked on various quality of life issues. That collaboration earned Dyer and two other reporters nominations for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize.
After winning his seat in 2006 to represent the 43rd House District, Dyer fought tirelessly to once and for all fix our state’s school funding system. He spent two years developing his own system, then when Gov. Ted Strickland introduced the Ohio Evidence Based Model in 2009, Dyer was the chairman of the subcommittee that transformed the new system into one that earned the Frank Newman Award from the Education Commission of the States – recognizing the country’s most “bold, innovative, non-partisan” education reform of 2009. It remains the only school funding plan produced since the 1930s that promised to lower Ohio’s property taxes to pay for schools.
Dyer received the Leadership in Education Policy Award from the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, which was the group that sued the state over its old, unconstitutionally funded system. He is the only Ohio legislator ever given an award from the group. He received the 2010 Friend of Public Education Award from the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the 2010 Public Service Award from the Ohio Association of Career and Technical Education, the 2009 Homer F. Mincy Award from the Alliance for Adequate School Funding (a group representing the state’s suburban districts), and the 2009 Civic Leadership Award from the Ohio Association for Gifted Children.
Dyer grew up in Hudson, Ohio, and attended Western Reserve Academy, where his parents taught. He graduated from Tufts University in Massachusetts with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, earned a Master’s Degree in journalism from Kent State University and a law degree from the University of Akron. He lives in Green with his wife of 16 years, Melissa, and his two sons, Logan, 10, and Carson, 6, both of whom attend Green Local Schools.
As part of his recognition as the Hicks Executive in Residence, Mr. Dyer will provide two presentations. One, “School Choice: ECOT, Vouchers and Ohio’s White Whale” will be held March 20 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm in room 210 in McCracken Hall on the Ohio University campus. This presentation is open to the public and a light lunch will be served. The second presentation, “You Get What You Pay For: Common Sense Wisdom for Education Funding,” will be presented at the March CORAS meeting to be held March 21 at the Ohio University Inn.
The Hicks Executive In Residence Award is named for Emeritus Professor Samuel Hicks who provided an endowment to Ohio University in order to attract outstanding educational executives and leaders to the Ohio University Campus each year. The program, a forum for recognizing and honoring outstanding leaders of America’s educational institutions, has been carried out annually in the spring of each year since its beginning in 1976. The 42 Executives in Residence have been leaders drawn from both the national scene and from Ohio. Among others, the list includes past graduates of the Ohio University program in educational administration, Ohio Superintendents of Public Instruction, Directors of National Administrator Associations, CEO’s of National Foundations, nationally prominent school superintendents, administrators in the US Office of Education and well known authors and educational researcher
Over 150 Teachers, Principals, Superintendents and State Leaders Attend January Meeting Recognizing Outstanding Teachers in the Region
At the January CORAS meeting 48 teachers from CORAS member districts were recognized for their outstanding contribution to education in their districts. Patton College Dean, Renee Middleton, State Superintendent of Instruction , Mr. Paulo DeMaria and CORAS Executive Director helped to recognize the teachers who were nominated by criteria determined by individual districts. Teachers received an plaque and letter of acknowledgement that was sent to Board of Education members in their district.
At the conclusion of this meeting, there was a press conference announcing a major research study being conducted by CORAS, Ohio University’s Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education, and four other institutions of higher learning – Marietta College, Muskingum University, University of Rio Grande, and Shawnee State University – will collaborate on this research project, which seeks to improve academic outcomes for rural Southeast Ohio students and prepare them for future employment opportunities. To that end, researchers will gather data relating to best practices in discipline, parent engagement, student achievement, attendance, student satisfaction, and teacher/administration support. Their goal is to identify processes, systems, and programs that mitigate the effects of poverty and its impact on academic outcomes for Southeast Ohio students.
These research-based findings will be useful for Ohio legislators as they prepare for Ohio’s 2019-20 biennial budget cycle. In fact, State Representative Robert Cupp (R-Lima), who is chairing the Ohio House Speaker’s Task Force on Education and Poverty, is slated to speak at the meeting.
Janetta King, Chair of Ohio University’s Board of Trustees, announced the initiative on behalf of Ohio University President Dr. M. Duane Nellis and the aforementioned colleges and universities, which comprise the Southeast Ohio Teacher Development Collaborative (SEO-TDC). The SEO-TDC seeks to not only recruit and retain high-quality teachers to Appalachia, but also use data and research to guide its curriculum.
60 CORAS Members Attend September Meeting
Over 60 members and guests attended the September CORAS Meeting on September 13 in Logan, Ohio where they heard a presentation from Michael Collins, who represents Real Choice Ohio that is working to develop a website and other support materials to assist districts in retaining students in public schools. The student retention assistance will include research, creation of best practice maters, sharing of best practice and training for public school districts. The website is expected to be up and running by mid October. You can subscribe to Real Choice by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. CORAS members Lori Snyder Lowe and Tom Perkins are on the Board of Directors for Real Choice.
At the meeting updates were given by Karen Boch who serves on Representative Robert Cupp’s Legislative Committee on Poverty impact on schools and learning. Dr. Murray and Lindsey Ladd from Ohio University explained a new research initiative that will be undertaken by CORAS and SEOTDC universities on Poverty and Appalachian Schools. Districts were asked to complete the following form on effective programs in their schools.
State Board of Education Member, Stephanie Dodd then shared information from the State Board and asked for member input on several important issues the Board is currently working on. CORAS members were very interested and offered input on the new State Strategic Plan that is taking place.
The meeting concluded with Ohio High School Athletic Association Director, Dr. Dan Ross who shared information regarding procedures to follow with athletic programs.
The Next Meeting will be held October 18 in Logan, Ohio at the Olde Dutch Inn.
Lucas Honored for Service as President
Randy Lucas, Superintendent of the East Central Ohio ESC, was honored at the June CORAS meeting for his service as the 2016-17 president of CORAS. Director Murray thanked Lucas for his time and commitment to the organization and presented him with the President’s plaque.
April 2017 Meeting Recognizes Ohio Teacher of the Year, Dustin Weaver
At the April CORAS meeting Ohio Teacher of the year, Dustin Weaver, High School English Teacher from Chillicothe Public Schools was recognized for his achievement as 2016 Ohio Teacher of the Year. Mr. Weaver shared with CORAS members What Teachers Want to Hear from Their District Superintendents. After his presentation, Mr. Weaver was given a standing ovation and then presented a plaque from Executive Director, Dr. Richard Murray.
In other business, Dr. Kirk Hamilton, Executive Director of BASA presented information on the new biennial budget. His PowerPoint can be found by clicking on the following link: coras-041917. Dr. Hamilton also credited the work done by CORAS superintendents for bringing attention to the new ESSA legislation. Other speakers included Jim McGreavey from STRS who gave an update on the state of the retirement system and Dr. Karen Garza, President and CEO of Batelle for Kids who presented us with an update of her goals for BFK.
The next CORAS meeting will be Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at Eaglesticks, Zanesville, Ohio.
Community Supports Scheduled at 4 Locations
Four Community Forums have been scheduled to discuss the topic of Student Substance Abuse and Community Supports. The dates and locations are the following:
March 30, 6 PM; Host: Shawnee State University; Location: Portsmouth HS Conference Room, 1225 Gallia Street, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662
April 4, 6 PM; Host: Ohio University; Location: Athens Community Center Rm. A/B, 701 East State Street, Athens, Ohio 45701
April 12, 6 PM; Host: Muskingum University and Marietta College; Location: McDonough Auditorium, Marietta College; 215 5th Street, Marietta, Ohio 45750
April 18, 2017 6 PM; Host: Rio Grande University; Location: Bob Evans Farms Hall Auditorium Room 118, Bevo Francis Drive, Rio Grande, Ohio 45674
March 15 Meeting Recognizes ESSA Team Leaders and 2016-17 Hicks Executive in Residence Tom Ash
60 members attended the March CORAS meeting held at the Ohio University Inn in Athens. At this meeting, 13 Team Leaders who facilitated the CORAS response to the Ohio Plan of ESSA implementation were recognized for their leadership in this effort. Those recognized and presented certificates were: Randy Lucas, Mark Murphy and Dan Leffingwell on Teacher Evaluation, Kyle Newton and Tom Perkins on Highly Qualified Teaching, Jeff Stricklett and Tim Winland on School Improvement, Matt Sheridan and Monte Bainter on Assessment, Karen Bock and Stephanie Starcher on Accountability and Renee Middleton and Cindy Hartman on Teacher and School Leader Academies.
In addition, Mr. Tom Ash was presented the Hicks Executive in Residence Award by Executive Director, Dr. Dick Murray (see story below).
In other business, Ms. Karen Boch, Superintendent of Wellston City Schools was nominated for President Elect for the 2017-18 year.
Tom Ash Named 2016-17 Hicks Executive in Residence
The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools is pleased to announce the 2016-17 Hicks Executive in Residence, Mr. Thomas P. Ash. Mr. Ash currently serves as the Director of Governmental Relations for the Buckeye Association of School Administrators. In this capacity, he represents school district leaders from throughout Ohio before the Ohio General Assembly and various state agencies and organizations and provides technical assistance to BASA members. From this vantage point, he possesses a unique understanding of the current state of affairs of education in Ohio and across the country. Prior to this position, he completed thirty-five years in public education with 21 of those as a superintendent in two school districts.
A graduate of Bowling Green and Youngstown State Universities, Ash served as the 30th President of BASA in 1999-2000 and also is the editor of The Management Guide for School Leaders, an annual reference publication for superintendents and central office administrators.
As part of his recognition as the Hicks Executive in Residence, Mr. Ash will provide two presentations. One, “Witnessing the Death of a Profession?” will be held March 14 from 12:15 to 2:00 pm in room 105 in McCracken Hall on the Ohio University campus. This presentation is open to the public and a light lunch will be served. The second presentation, “The Budget and Other Alternate Realities,” will be presented at the March CORAS meeting to be held March 15 at the Ohio University Inn.
Ash presenting to faculty and students at the Patton College of Education
The Hicks Executive In Residence Award is named for Emeritus Professor Samuel Hicks who provided an endowment to Ohio University in order to attract outstanding educational executives and leaders to the Ohio University Campus each year. The program, a forum for recognizing and honoring outstanding leaders of America’s educational institutions, has been carried out annually in the spring of each year since its beginning in 1976. The 42 Executives in Residence have been leaders drawn from both the national scene and from Ohio. Among others, the list includes past graduates of the Ohio University program in educational administration, Ohio Superintendents of Public Instruction, Directors of National Administrator Associations, CEO’s of National Foundations, nationally prominent school superintendents, administrators in the US Office of Education and well known authors and educational researchers.
CORAS Superintendents Testify on ESSA Draft
ESSA CORAS team leaders met February 23 to develop a response to the ODE ESSA Implementation Plan for Ohio. The new plan which can be found CORAS response to Ohio’s Draft ESSA plan-4 was presented to the House Education Committee on March 9th by Superintendents Stephanie Starcher and Kyle Newton. Thanks to everyone who worked to facilitate this process.
CORAS Superintendents, Teachers, Principals and University Faculty Work on ESSA Recommendations
At the October meeting of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools, 87 worked together to develop guidelines to recommend to the Ohio Department of Education as they implement new ESSA guidelines in the state of Ohio. This work led to development of a new Policy Brief that was written by Dr. Charles Lowery of the Educational Administration Program at OU. This Policy Brief was shared with legislators, policy makers and also at the Ohio University Board of Trustees Meeting in January by Superintendent Jon Saxton, Patton College Dean Renee Middleton, Executive Director Richard Murray and Associate Director Cindy Hartman. The recommendations were later revised by the Team Leaders and presented as testimony at a House Education Committee Hearing on March 9. A copy of the Policy Brief and the revised recommendations can be found on the Research page.
Saxton, Middleton and Murray Superintendents Kyle Newton of Warren Local Schools and Dr. Stephanie
at the Ohio University Board of Starcher of Fort Frye Local Schools testify on ESSA recommendations.
Trustee Meeting on January 20.
At the February, 2017 CORAS meeting, long time advocate for Appalachian Ohio, Dr. James Mahoning was honored for his work and presented a lifetime membership to CORAS.
We all would like to say thank you to Jim for his lifetime work with boys and girls and families from our region and wish him well in his retirement and the next adventure that awaits him.
January 20, 2016
51 District Treasurers Honored at CORAS January Meeting
At the January 20 meeting of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools, 51 district treasurers were honored for their contribution to their school district. Mr. Richard Maxwell and David Varda were guest speakers who spoke on the importance of leadership in the treasurer’s position. Dick Maxwell was also presented a plaque for his contribution to fair and equitable funding in Ohio as well as his extensive knowledge that has been shared with school leaders over the past several decades.
Executive Director Dr. Richard Murray also announced that the March Meeting date has been moved to February 18 at the Olde Dutch Inn in Logan. The focus of the meeting will be: “Legislators want to hear from S.E. Ohio Superintendents.” CORAS has been invited to host a special meeting (FEB. 18th) to gather school information from CORAS member Superintendents that will be used in the preparation of Ohio’s next Biennial Budget process. The meeting will be held at the Olde Dutch restaurant in Logan Ohio from 9:00 to 12:00 followed by lunch.
BASA’s Director of Government Relations Tom Ash will lead the meeting, and Policy Researcher Dr. Howard Fleeter will help us guide our discussion. This is a great opportunity for Superintendents to advocate for your schools and S.E. Ohio’ classrooms. District Superintendents are being asked to provide input to the following questions that will provide data to lead this discussion. Superintendents are being asked to return answers to the following questions prior to the February meeting.
1.) What part of the current Ohio school funding formula creates the greatest problem for your school district?
2.) If you had a 5% increase in basic aid, what would you do with the additional money?
3.) What percent and (dollar amount) of your General Fund revenue goes to transportation? What programs would you offer with that amount of money?
4.) In what subject areas are you having the most difficulty finding teachers?
5.) What one thing could the General assembly do at little cost that would improve the quality of learning in your school district?
6.) What program or services from your ESC have you had to reduce or eliminate as a result of ESC cuts over the last two budgets?
7.) Why are more students not enrolling in AP classes in your district?
8.) What is the status of the use of technology (for both instruction and assessments) in your district?
October 15, 2015
Hope and Resilience Topic for October Meeting
Over 90 members and guests attended the October 15 meeting held in Logan, Ohio.
Dr. Jim Mahoney and Jamie Meade from Battelle for Kids talked about the importance of Hope and Resilience for the students we serve. Jamie’s PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded by clicking here.
April 15, 2015
At the April CORAS meeting, William Phillis was recognized as the 2015 Hicks Executive in Residence.
Introduced by Dr. Barbara Hansen from Muskingum University and Battelle for Kids and Dr. Richard Murray, CORAS Executive Director, William Phillis was recognized for his 57 years as an advocate for Ohio students, schools, families and communities. Phillis who began his career as a teacher in Ross County, then moved to become a high school principal, local school superintendent, County Superintendent (Currently ESC’s), and JVS Superintendent before becoming Assistant of Public Instruction for the Ohio Department of Education, specializing in legislative relations. In 1992, Mr. Phillis became the Executive Director of The Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding where he continue to work today.
In his remarks, Mr. Phillis stressed the importance of Public Education and identified lessons learned from the DeRolph litigation. They are: David can still beat Goliath; Litigation is sometimes necessary; State officials often must be prodded; and finally, there is a new Goliath — one that is more dangerous, onerous and more difficult to fight. He then went on to outline five major state policy issues/tactics and one federal policy that must be addressed. They are: 1.) Restore the Sate Board of Education to an all elected membership via a constitutional amendment; 2.) Keep the Thorough and Efficient Clause in the Ohio Constitution; 3.) Predicate state funding on the elements of a high quality education; 4.) Repeal the high stakes testing programs and establish an educational -sound accountability system; 5.) All schools that use public funds should be required to follow the same, laws and regulations; 6.) For profit education management companies must be prohibited from doing business in Ohio. Phillis concluded his remarks with the following statements: “Being a public school administrator and/or educator is a profession, a passion, a sort of calling. The public common school system is a concept and institution that we must totally embrace, nurture and sustain. It is an institution that is truly American, totally engrained in the fabric of our social order. To the extent that the public common school system is undermined or lost, likewise, America is undercut or vanquished. Go forth and save the public common school system and American democracy!”
Formation and History of CORAS
The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) was established in 1988. Historically CORAS played a major role in Ohio’s struggle for equitable and quality education by initiating the effort (DeRolph v. State of Ohio). Since the school-funding reform effort dominated the decade of the 1990’s in Ohio, there may be some value in revisiting those formative years. Let us look back at the events, and some of the people who shaped the Coalition in those early years.
It was in 1986 when a group of area school superintendents began talking about equal educational opportunities for the children in rural southeastern Ohio. These school leaders belonged to an organization called the Southeastern Ohio Superintendents Association (SEOSA). In 1987 SEOSA initiated an effort called Promoting Appalachian and Rural Initiatives for Teaching Youth (P.A.R.I.T.Y.). This initiative was designed to communicate the lack of educational opportunity and school-funding inequities in poor rural Appalachia school districts to members of the Ohio General Assembly. Needless to say the effort failed. Legislators listened, but provided little more than lip service to the problem. SEOSA and P.A.R.I.T.Y. were short on revenue, lacked effective leadership and had little political clout. Then a bureaucrat from Columbus urged superintendents to get organized, “if you ever expect to get anything for this region.”
In late 1987 and early 1988, four area school superintendents, Ron Smith, Tri-County JVS, Jacalyn Osborne, Nelsonville City, Jerry Stotts, Athens County, and Dick Fisher, Perry County, held a series of meetings with the Dean of the College of Education at Ohio University, Dr. Allen Myers. The purpose of the meetings was to discuss a variety of problems facing public schools in the region. As a result of these discussions, the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools was organized. The Coalition was a merger of the Southeastern Ohio Superintendents Association (SEOSA) and the Council of Administrative Leadership in Southeastern Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia (SEOKWA) headed by Dr. Samuel Hicks, a professor at Ohio University.
The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools, Centered at Ohio University, was officially established as a Regional Council of Governments on July 1, 1988. Ohio University College of Education became the center of operations by providing an office, a part-time Executive Director and financial support. Dr. William Inman was named Executive Director and Dr. Jacalyn Osborne was elected the first president of the Coalition. Members of the original CORAS Board of Directors were: Michael Richardson, Jackson City; Patricia Carr, Chillicothe City; Allen Myers, Ohio University; Gerald Stotts, Athens County; Larry Miller, Muskingum County; Richard Fisher, Perry County; Paul Dressel, Ohio University; Donald Jones, Guernsey County; Ronald Smith, Tri-County JVS; Richard Ronald, Tuscarawas County; Scott Howard, Ironton City; Richard Maxwell, Holmes County; and Kearney Lykins, Barnesville Exempted Village. The mission of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools was to secure “Equal Educational Opportunities for All Children in Ohio.
CORAS President Dick Fisher presents Ohio University College of Education Dean Allen Myers a plaque honoring his work in the formation of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools Centered at Ohio University. The presentation was made in the Spring of 1990
Front row (L to R) Dennis Meade, Minford Local; Patricia Carr, Chillicothe City; and Paul Dressel, Ohio University. Back row (L to R) Larry Miller, Muskingum County Schools; Dick Fisher, Perry County Schools; Bob Sigler, Ross County Schools; Richard Ronald, Tuscarawas County Schools; William E. Inman, Executive Director; Steve Grimm, Belmont County Schools; and John Shump, Claymont City.
Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools meeting in the 1990’s. (LtoR) Ron Smith, Tri-County JVs; Dick Smith, Eastern Local (Meigs); Steve Johnson, Northern Local; Jim McKinney, Morgan County Local; unidentified; Jerry Stotts (back to camera) Athens County Schools; and Don Knox, Ohio University.
Dick Fisher, Superintendent of Perry County Schools, served as Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools President in 1989-90.
Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools meeting in the early 1990’s. (LtoR) Fred Cook, Crooksville Exempted Village; Steve Johnson, Northern Local; John Ryan, Tri-County JVS; Rodney Spohn, Maysville Local; Bill King, New Lexington City; State Representative Paul Mechling, Jim Rosendahl, Southern Local (Perry) Pat Greenwood, Logan-Hocking Local; Joe Murtha, Logan-Hocking Local; Charles Bethel, Franklin Local; and Dick Fisher, Perry County Schools.
Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools meeting in 1992-93. (LtoR) State Senator Oliver Ocasek; Dr. Dennis Meade, Minford Local; Dr. Wells Singleton, Ohio University College of Education Dean; Dr Samuel I. Hicks, Ohio University; and Attorney Bob Baker.
Dr. Dennis Meade, Superintendent, Minford Local School District, (left) and Dr. Samuel I. Hicks. Dr. Meade served as President of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools in 1992-93 and presided over the annual Hicks Executive-in-Residence program.
Photo taken March 9, 2010: William Inman (not present), Max Evans, Dick Fisher and Dennis Meade.
CORAS Past Presidents
1988-89 – Jacalyn Osborne, Nelsonville-York City School District
1989-90 – Dick Fisher, Perry County Schools
1990-91 – Larry Miller, Muskingum County Schools
1991-92 – Fred Steinbrecher, Ridgewood Local School District
1992-93 – Dennis Meade, Minford Local School District
1993-94 – Tim Lairson, Federal Hocking Local School District
1994-95 – Jim Mahoney, East Muskingum Local School District
1995-96 – Joe Murtha, Logan-Hocking Local School District
1996-97 – Jerry Russell, Morgan Local School District
1997-98 – Charles Bethel, Coshocton County JVS
1998-99 – Jack Payton, Gallipolis City School District
1999-00 – Bob Caldwell, Wolf Creek Local School District
2000-01 – Dale Dickson, Perry-Hocking ESC
2001-02 – Dale Edwards, Harrison Hills City School District
2002-03 – John Simmons, Vinton County Local School District
2003-04 – Bob Caldwell, Wolf Creek Local School District
2004-05 – Thomas Wolfe, Conotton Valley-Union/Berne Union Local School Districts
2005-06 – Phil Satterfield, Paint Valley Local School District/Ross-Pike ESC
2006-07 – Charles Bizzari, Belmont-Harrison Joint Vocational School
2007-08 – Richard Murray, Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center
2008-09 – David Branch, Franklin Local School District
2009-10 – William Brelsford, Caldwell Exempted Village School District
2010-11 – Mark Miller, Buckeye Local School District
2012-12 – David Branch, Perry Hocking Educational Service Center
2012-13 – Lori Snyder Lowe, Morgan Local Schools
2013-14 – Tom Perkins, Northern Locals Schools in Perry County
2014-15 – Jon Saxton, Chillicothe City Schools
2015-16 – Mark Murphy, Tuscarawas Local Schools
2016-17 – Randy Lucas, East Central Ohio Schools
2017-18 – Jeff Stricklett, Washington Nile Schools
2018-19 – Karen Boch, Wellston City Schools