NAU Department of Educational Leadership Rural Schools Resource Center (NAURRC)

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Mentoring Matters: The Critical Need for a Rural Leaders Network of Support By Melissa A Sadorf, Ed.D

 

Ten years ago I was hired by a rural school district in Arizona to serve as Superintendent. In my first year, I was learning the intricacies of the superintendency, was responsible for mentoring a first-year principal, and was learning the roles of Business Manager and Federal Grants Director. Nothing in my educational background and coursework prepared me for the many hats that I would be required to wear. In fact, when my husband learned I would be responsible for managing an $8 million budget, he looked at me askance and said, “You can’t even balance your own checkbook!”

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Melissa Sadorf, Ed.D

Superintendent

Stanfield Elementary School District

Rural administrators also face a host of unique challenges. Many rural administrators do not have strong mentorship or assistance once they are handed the keys to the building. In fact, due to often remote and resource impoverished locales, these rural leaders often leave their positions within the first three years. Exit studies have shown that the reasons for the exodus include lack of preparation and a lack of support once seated in the position.

Mentoring Matters Takeaways

  1. Rural administrators also face a host of unique challenges. Many rural administrators do not have strong mentorship or assistance once they are handed the keys to the building. In fact, due to often remote and resource impoverished locales, these rural leaders often leave their positions within the first three years.  
  2. Exit studies have shown that the reasons for the exodus include lack of preparation and a lack of support once seated in the position. 
  3. As the President of the Arizona Rural Schools Association, I initiated a collaboration between ARSA and Grand Canyon University to create a Rural Leaders Network (RLN) for the leaders across the state that had limited or no access to resources and support.  

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