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White House: Nominate a Rural Champion of Change

John White, the U.S. Department of Education's deputy assistant secretary for rural outreach, has put out a call for rural education nominees for the White House's Champions of Change program.

The purpose is to recognize ordinary Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world, according to the White House.

"Education and Empowerment" is one of four major areas in which citizens can be recognized. Nominees don't have to meet specific criteria, but suggestions for education-related submissions included: "innovative teachers and school leaders creating engaging and rigorous learning environments that get results; out-of-school programs providing hope, inspiration and opportunity; young adults setting off to be entrepreneurs or leaders in their communities; or programs giving adult learners the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century economy."

The nomination form is straightforward and relatively short. Winners are named weekly, and their stories are featured on the White House website. They also are invited to the White House to share their ideas.

Two of the educators recognized thus far have had rural roots: Bridgeport High, Wash., principal Tamra Jackson, whose school was a runner-up in the White House's Commencement Challenge; and Pam Smith, who works with rural schools as an online teacher through a Florida virtual school.

And I'm still looking for rock star rural superintendents. I haven't received many nominations, so if you have one, please send it my way!

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