Rural Advocacy Award

The Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) Board of Directors established this award to recognize an individual educator, legislator, business/industry leader or community leader in Wisconsin who has devoted significant time and contributed substantial effort to strengthen and preserve rural schools in Wisconsin.

To be nominated you must be an individual educator, legislator, business/industry leader or community leader in Wisconsin.

Award winners will be selected by the WiRSA Board of Directors Executive Committee.

Rural Advocacy Award Winner


Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA)

2019 Rural Advocacy Award


Doug Mering Baraboo School District

Doug Mering is a Board of Education member and Vice President of the School District of Baraboo Board of Education.  He also serves in the capacity of Policy Chair.  Doug is a CESA 5 board member as well. He epitomizes rural education advocacy at the local, state and federal level. He constantly monitors bilss that will impact education and children. He then follows up by reaching out to legislators and testifies at public hearings making sure his voice and the voice of educators and students is heard. Doug has provided testimony several times on issues such as special education funding, mental health, and voucher schools transparency. 

Doug is first and foremost a champion for all students.  This is evident in his commitment to students who participate in local youth-based organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and Kids Ranch.  As a board member, he advocates for deep partnerships and collaboration with these organizations to benefit students with significant needs. His advocacy is also noted in his personal commitment to volunteer in the schools and work one-on-one with students as an extra set of hands.  He gives countless hours of service to our schools and leadership groups to be a voice for student-centered action.

Doug commits to annual participation on a number of district-wide workgroups.  He is a fierce champion of the development, alignment, and implementation of our district’s strategic plan.  In his role as a board member, he solicits stakeholder feedback to ensure full representation from under-represented groups. Doug recently participated on the District Social Equity Workgroup.  His contributions to the work of this group are noted in recent work to tackle the student dress code policy to address gender equity and connecting with members of the Ho-Chunk Nation to bring more culture responsiveness to the District.

Doug is a true friend and supporter of public and rural schools. 

Doug was nominated by Baraboo School District Administrator Dr Lori Mueller.