Welcome to the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance
The Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) was formed to help rural school districts address the unique issues that affect rural schools as they seek to achieve the highest quality education for every student. Our members include a cross section of educators, school board members, rural community members, business leaders and other concerned individuals who want a strong voice for rural schools. WiRSA is supported by the Wisconsin Cooperative Education Services Agency (CESA) districts, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the UW System and rural school districts.
WREA and WiRSA Collaboration to Fill Positions with Retired Educators
WREA and WiRSA are joining forces to connect school districts with hard to fill partial positions and long term substitute positions with retired educators looking to get back into the workforce part time to share their knowledge and love of education with the students of rural Wisconsin. District Administrators and or HR personnel can complete this form to post a partial position or long term substitute position for posting on the WREA website. There is no cost for the posting, this is a service of WREA and WiRSA.
Use this link to search openings.
2019 WiRSA Conference
Diversity in Rural Schools
October 28-29 at the Wilderness Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells
A conference for administrators, board members, teachers, CESA employees, higher education professionals, public library administrators, elected officials and citizens interested in rural school and community issues.
Phone: (608) 553-0689
Become a Member
Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Founders
Pictured from left to right are WiRSA Board President, Ben Niehaus, Fred Yeo, Don Stevens,Bob Beaver, Chuck Pursell,Nancy Hendrickson, Senator Luther Olsen (accepting on behalf of Joan Wade), Jerry Fiene and WiRSA Executive Director, Kim Kaukl (Not pictured are Dave Polashek, Bob Kellogg, Guy Leavitt, Fred Schlichting, Art Keenan and Ken Kasinski)
The 13 Founders were Bob Beaver, Jerry Fiene, Nancy Hendrickson, Ken Kasinski, Art Keenan, Bob Kellogg, Guy Leavitt, Chuck Pursell, Dave Polashek, Fred Schlichting, Don Stevens, Joan Wade and Fred Yeo.
This group saw that rural schools were being underserved and underrepresented. In 2008 some of them got together to look at the situation and develop a plan. It started with meetings that grew into the first Rural Schools and Communities Conference in Wausau in the Spring of 2009. This was then followed up with more brainstorming and conferences in 2010 and 2011. The interim Board found the conference to be successful, but growing the membership was challenging. In the Spring of 2011, the initial formulation of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance began with the Interim Board creating a job description for a part-time Executive Director. In 2012 Joan Wade became the President of WiRSA and Jerry Fiene was hired as the Executive Director and WiRSA became an official organization and the first Board was elected.
Thanks to the vision of these founders, WiRSA continues to grow with a present membership of 220, which includes 155 rural school districts. Today we want to say thank you to the 13 founders and recognize them for their vision and passion for Rural Education.
2018-2019 WiRSA Scholarship Winners
In recognition of the tremendous efforts put forth by the Wisconsin’s rural schools to provide their students with quality education in an ever-changing environment, it is with pleasure that the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) offers an annual scholarship program.
To qualify, participating schools must be current paid members of WiRSA.
The scholarship will be awarded annually to five graduated high school seniors. Each recipient will receive a one-time cash scholarship of $750 to be used by the student to help defray the costs of post-secondary education and related expenses. A written essay is required for the application that expands on the following information:
- the benefits of attending a rural school
- your college and career goals
- the value of growing up in a rural community and what personal values you have gained from your experience
Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Teacher Education Scholarship
The scholarship will be awarded annually to one graduating high school senior from each of the four membership regions of Wisconsin as specified in the organization’s bylaws. An additional at-Large scholarship will be given to the next highest scoring applicant. Each recipient will receive a one-time cash scholarship of $750 to be used by the student to help defray the costs of post-secondary education and related expenses. A written essay is required for the application that expands on the following information:
- The benefits of attending a rural school.
- Why you are choosing the field of Teacher Education.
- The value of growing up in a rural community and what personal values you have gained from your experience.