The Ohio State University at Mansfield

Local teachers meet with US Education Secretary

Several local school teachers met with US Secretary of Education Dr. John King (2d row, 4th from right) Oct. 13 in Columbus during the Battelle for Kids conference at The Ohio State University. His focus was learning more about teaching in a rural school setting.

Jessica LItzenberg (1st row, 2d from right), a fourth grade mathematics teacher at Butler Elementary School in the Clear Fork Valley Local School District, Beth Kohne (2d row, 2d from right), a second and third grade intervention specialist with the Crestview Local School District, and Ohio State Mansfield Early Childhood Education major Kendall Fout (1st row, 3d from right) attended the event.

All participate actively in Ohio State Mansfield’s Math Literacy Initiative, a professional learning community that provides professional development for K-12 teachers.

“Secretary King genuinely cared about our opinions and really wanted to hear firsthand accounts of the advantages and disadvantages are teaching in rural education,” Litzenberg said.

Litzenberg explained to King what the Math Literacy Initiative collaborative brings to rural schools.

“Typically, professional development may be difficult to organize for reasons such as costs involved or travel time from larger cities where professional development tends to take place,” she said. “Collaboration through local colleges and universities can make a profound impact. The collaboration that is happening through the Math Literacy Initiative has given 'us' a tangible focus as K-5 educators on math and some new thoughts on the best practices of teaching math.”

Fout graduated from Northmor High School in Morrow County. She spoke about being educated at a rural school and her plans after college.

“The meeting with Dr. King was a really amazing experience,” she said. “He seemed very interested in what we had to say about rural education. Getting to speak about my experiences with rural education, as well as hearing the insights and experiences of others, was very enlightening.”