Education and Opportunity for Rural Students and Communities


The Rural Alliance Strategic Plan


The capacity of any organization or group is in large part impacted by its human capital. Human capital is represented not just by the number of people in an organization but also by the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that each of those individuals bring to the work or task at hand. The Rural Alliance will work to increase individual and collective capacity via professional growth and job satisfaction opportunities. The Rural Alliance also seeks to increase and diversify the already strong human capital found in its partners. Sustaining strong human capital is essential to ensuring opportunities and success for rural students and their communities.

As the Rural Alliance continues to increase its partnerships and collaborative projects, it is clear that the current single district superintendent process for managing activities, meetings, and partnerships is untenable. While the Rural Alliance has started to explore governance options, it is also clear that there is a fine line/tension between maintaining the current informal and collegial relationships that have built and sustained the Rural Alliance and the development of a governance structure with dedicated staff to manage the Rural Alliance.  Above all, Rural Alliance partners seek to maintain “ownership” of the Rural Alliance, sustain its strong relationships, nurture the values that built the Rural Alliance, and maintain the unique characteristics of the Rural Alliance. The Rural Alliance is a grassroots organization. The Rural Alliance seeks to establish dedicated staff to increase effectiveness and efficiency and expand opportunities.



Strategic Planning Process Overview

Strategy 1: Continue to develop a collective voice for the Rural Alliance

Strategy 2: Continue to attract and build strong human capital to the Rural Alliance

Strategy 3: Research, implement, and sustain innovative solutions for rural challenges

Strategy 4: Continue to develop and nurture strong social capital

Strategy 5: Build an innovative structure to develop organizational capacity in the Rural Alliance

This strategic planning process took place as follows:

    June 26–27, 2016: Developed overview, mission, values, and initial SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis.
    August 21–22, 2016: Revisited mission and values, developed vision, completed SWOT (External opportunities and threats), converted and prioritized weaknesses and threats; and consolidated SWOT analysis information and prioritized strategies.
    August through September 2016: Developed strategies and milestones
    September 19, 2016: Superintendents edited and fine-tuned strategies, major milestones, and deliverables.
    September through October 2016: Obtained and incorporated stakeholder input and continued draft Strategic Plan edits.
    October 9–10, 2016, Rural Alliance Conference: Obtained Rural Alliance partnership strategic plan input via conference survey.
    November 2, 2016: Incorporated subgroup edits based on Survey feedback and conference evaluations, incorporated stakeholder input and final document edits.
    December 5, 2016: Drafted Team Strategic Plan approval and next steps.
    January 29–30, 2017: Share final Strategic Plan with partners at the Rural Alliance Conference.
    December 2017: Superintendent drafting team will review the Rural Alliance’s progress on the Strategic Plan.

A strength of the Rural Alliance is the longstanding strong social capital that exists across the rural school districts and its partners. Social capital is the “connections among individuals - social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from” those connections and relationships. These networks, connections, individual and collective motivations, and collaborations that are social capital are essential assets to building and sustaining strong communities. On behalf of rural partners, the Rural Alliance seeks to continue to invest in, diversify and sustain its partnerships.


Strategic Plan feedback was requested and provided by the following Stakeholders:

School District Superintendents

    Asotin: Dale Bonfield
    Creston: Bill Wadlington*
    Curlew/Republic: John Glenewinkel
    Lake Chelan: Barry Depaoli
    Liberty: Kyle Rydell
    Mabton: Minerva Morales*
    Mary Walker: Kevin Jacka
    Mansfield: Cora Nordby
    Medical Lake: Tim Ames
    Northport: Don Baribault
    Odessa: Dan Read
    Reardan: Marcus Morgan*
    Tonasket: Steve McCullough
    Valley: Kevin Foster*

Community Colleges and Universities

    Community Colleges of Spokane: Nancy Szofan
    CWU: Liselotte Butterfield
    Big Bend Community College: Kara Garrett
    Yakima Valley Community College: Thomas Ybarra
    Eastern Washington University: Melinda Bowman  
    WSU Tri-Cities: Jessica Dempsy

Other Partners

    Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE): Christine Campbell
    Hagan - Amy Bragden
    MWSD Board - Jeff Canfield
    Royal City - Rick Follett (Principal)
    Rural Alliance: Jerry Dyar
    Rural Alliance: Richard Conley