Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Facebook Twitter

Welcome to Rural LIFE

Scott M. Niswonger, Chairman and Founder of the Niswonger Foundation announced the award of an "Education Innovation and Research" (EIR) Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This grant, with the required matching funds, will provide more than eight million dollars to assist schools in Northeast Tennessee. Niswonger stated: "This is a day of tremendous pride as I reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of the Niswonger Foundation. It is gratifying to be recognized nationally for our work in public education but more important to me is that we have another new and powerful opportunity to serve the children in this region, to ensure that they are prepared to be successful in post-secondary education and in their chosen careers."

School Districts Served

The grant will serve eighteen school systems in Northeast Tennessee (Bristol City, Carter County, Cocke County, Elizabethton City, Greene County, Greeneville City, Hamblen County, Hancock County, Hawkins County, Jefferson County, Johnson City, Johnson County, Kingsport City, Newport City, Rogersville City, Sullivan County, Unicoi County, and Washington County). This grant will add another important scope of work to this unique consortium of schools that has drawn national recognition. The majority of the 73 schools in this project are designated rural and 85% are Title I school-wide. Approximately 19,700 students are served by Rural LIFE-participating schools.

Grant Recipients

The United States Department of Education selected 16 grant recipients from 379 proposals based on recommendations from independent peer review panels. The 16 successful applications represented 9 states and the District of Columbia.

The Niswonger Foundation is one of only 6 recipients in the "mid-phase" category. This grant will be used to fund a program entitled: Rural LIFE (Literacy Initiative Focused on Effectiveness). The purpose of the grant is to validate the use of personalized learning strategies, with the goal of focusing on literacy to improve academic achievement for students in grades six through eight. Rural LIFE uses the strategy of deploying technology-enabled literacy-focused personalized learning. Participating schools will identify specific technology needs as part of their learning model.

Our Rural LIFE Staff and Coaches

Richard Bales

Dr Richard Bales

Director of Instructional Practice

Candace Carpenter-Herman

Candace Carpenter-Herman

Rural LIFE Coach
cherman@niswongerfoundation.org

Brooke Drinnon

Brooke Drinnon

Rural LIFE Coach
bdrinnon@niswongerfoundation.org

Pam Holben

Pam Holben

Literacy and Communications Coordinator
pholben@niswongerfoundation.org

Sarah Kitzmiller

Sarah Kitzmiller

Rural LIFE Coach
skitzmiller@niswongerfoundation.org

Richard Kitzmiller

Dr. Richard Kitzmiller

Vice President, Niswonger Foundation

Mary McIntyre

Mary Nell McIntyre

Rural LIFE Coach
mmcintyre@niswongerfoundation.org

John Payne

John Payne

Director of Technology and Innovation

Lori Roark

Lori Roark

Rural LIFE Coach
lroark@niswongerfoundation.org

Allison Seeley

Allison Seeley

Rural LIFE Coach
aseeley@niswongerfoundation.org

Kristi Snyder

Kristi Snyder

Rural LIFE Coach
ksnyder@niswongerfoundation.org

Linda Stuart

Linda Stuart

Rural LIFE Coach
lstuart@niswongerfoundation.org

Ben Willings

Ben Willings

Rural LIFE Coach
bwillings@niswongerfoundation.org