In 1982 the ECU College of Education received a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to establish the
Rural Education Institute. The Rural Education Institute (REI) was developed to increase awareness of the unique strengths and needs of rural schools in eastern North Carolina. In 1984 the North Carolina General Assembly appropriated funds for the continuation of East Carolina University’s Rural Education Institute and established a counterpart at Western Carolina University. These two institutions comprise the Rural Education Network for the State of North Carolina.
In July 2002, the Rural Education Institute reorganized to align the institute with several national organizations and universities that focus on rural education issues. As the College of Education (COE) continues to increase visibility and to amplify the impact of the college on the region, state, and beyond, REI will be a critical unit in continuing to accomplish the college’s mission. Therefore, over the next few months, the college will bring together interested parties to re-envision the work of REI so that we take full advantage of this great opportunity.
With that said, I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Kristen Cuthrell has agreed to accept the position of Interim Director of the Rural Education Institute in the College of Education. Dr. Cuthrell joined the Elementary Education faculty in 2005 and received tenure and promotion in 2011. Kristen has presented and published extensively in using data to inform program improvement while developing and refining innovations in teacher preparation at both state and national levels. Her leadership and service within COE includes program coordinator, associate chair, COE Strategic Planning Coordinator, and CAEP TI leadership team. She has also served as a Co-PI on COE’s $9,000,000 Teacher Quality Partnership Grant and will be working with the ECU Lab School evaluation team in the coming years. Kristen earned her Ed.D. in Educational Innovation and Leadership from Wilmington University in Delaware, an MAEd from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and a BA from Duke University. She began her career in education as a second grade teacher before transitioning to Instructor and Department Chair of the Early Childhood Education Department at Delaware Technical and Community College. While in Delaware, Kristen served as the president of the Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children (an NAEYC affiliate) and on numerous state task forces.
I am grateful that Kristen has agreed to accept this interim appointment starting May 15th. She brings a diversity of professional experiences and personal passion to the role that will enable REI to excel and to foster an environment of creativity and innovation.
B. Grant Hayes, PhD
Dean and Distinguished Professor
College of Education