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Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA)

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2015 Conference Save the Date

WiRSA Welcomes New Executive Director

Kim Kaukl
WiRSA Executive Director

Kim Kaukl has been selected by the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Board of Directors to serve as the next executive director of WiRSA.  Mr. Kaukl will be replacing Jerry Fiene who is retiring after four years as the first executive director of the Alliance.

Kim Kaukl’s administrative experience includes fourteen years as high school principal at River Valley High School in Spring Green, Wisconsin as well as seventeen years of leadership in other Wisconsin high schools.  He has worked in public education for 34 years.  He comes to WiRSA with a passion for serving rural schools and a desire to continue to advocate for their interests and positions.

When asked, Kim indicated that he is honored to be selected as the second executive director and thanked the board for their confidence in him.  “I am looking forward to providing leadership services for an organization focused on rural schools and communities and welcome the opportunity to work with Jerry Fiene during a transition period.  He has done a great job growing the Alliance.”  Kim indicated that along with his passion for rural schools, the reason he had an interest in this position is that board members, administrators and teachers, as well as post-secondary institutions, govern WiRSA membership.

WiRSA is a growing organization with 175 members that include school districts, Cooperative Educational Service Agencies, post-secondary institutions, associate members and individuals.  The mission of the organization includes strengthening rural schools and communities by working collaboratively to solve issues, sharing educational best practices and advocating at the local, state and national levels on behalf of the membership.

Kim Kaukl’s official start date is July 1, 2015. 

2015-17 Biennial Budget

Stevens Point Public Forum, April 28, 2015

Farmers Union Convention Presentation

State Education Convention Presentation

2015-17 Legislative Session 



2014-15 WiRSA Scholarship Winners

Hannah Dorshorst, Auburndale High School
Hannah Dorshorst

Hannah will be pursuing an educational psychology degree at UW Madison.  She hopes to someday obtain a Masters Degree in School Psychology and practice as a school psychologist.  Hannah states,"This tiny, rural school in the middle of nowhere has become a home to me, where we are all country cousins sometimes in blood, but most prominently in heart.  In Auburndale, you can feel the close-knit support and the true, pure love of the community for these rolling expanses of beautiful green fields and the unconditional Auburndale 'family.'  This wonderful support, and the extensive amount of opportunity has made me the person I am today and paved a solid highway for me to succeed in my future endeavors."  On the topic of growing up in a rural school, Hannah states, "Without being a part of such a supportive, successful, and community-oriented, rural school, I honestly can say I would not be the person I am today.  I owe all that I have and have ever learned to this great school district and thank them everyday."


Johanna Meister, Darlington High School 
Johanna Meister
Johanna plans to attend UW Platteville to major in Mechanical Engineering. She says, "Growing up in a small town, I have had numerous people unknowingly make an impact on my life.  Without each of them, I would not be who I am today, and if I had not been raised in a tight-knit, rural community I would not have learned valuable lessons that are an integral part of who I am."."  Johanna reflects on her rural community and school, "Growing up 'rural,' does not mean that I missed out on opportunities.  It does mean that my opportunities have been enhanced from the input of many others."



Region 3
Eryn Mares, Unity High School
Eryn Mares

Although Eryn will be attending UW Eau Claire in the fall.  Eryn says her love of science is leading her toward pursuing a degree in the field of biology.  She will start college with an undecided major and through college experiences, narrow her interests down within the biology field to molecular biology, biochemistry or environmental biology.  When asked about the benefits of growing up in a rural community, Eryn comments, "Growing up in a rural community has allowed me to come to appreciate and admire how everyone helps each other out, whether they know them (which is very likely) or not . . . I've come to value the people of my small community, and the pride they have in our town." 

Region 3
Carolyn Peterson, Grantsburg High School
Carolyn Peterson

Carolyn's career goal is to obtain a master's degree in occupational therapy from UW LaCrosse.  She also wants to pursue a minor in art. Carolyn shared her thoughts on attending a small, rural school,"My school district is very small which has benefited me by providing many opportunities.  The faculty in our district provide students with the best education they can give us.  Because we are such a small school our teachers know just about every student in the school by name and what their character is.  Our teachers know how each of us learn and they will find a way for teach student to reach their potential.  Because we have a small amount of students, we have many opportunities to be in multiple extracurricular courses . . . These experiences have made me become a well-rounded person."  

Region 4
Sadie Duckert, Coleman High School
Sadie Duckert

Sadie plans to attend UW Madison, but hasn't decided on a course of study. Sadie states, "Leaving the quite woods and familiar landscape will be difficult at first, but opportunities often arise through change.  I can choose to expect the worst, or I can jump in and do my very best . . . My friends, family, and the influence of my environment have given me a strong moral foundation I will build on as I attend college and pursue a career."


7th Annual Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Fall Conference
November 11-12, 2015

Holiday Inn, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Click on the "2014 Annual Conference" link on the left side of the home page to access presentations from the 2014 conference.


    About WiRSA:

    The Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) strives to meet the unique needs of rural schools throughout the state. As such, our site is designed to be a central source for news, events and pertinent resources related to the issues faced by rural educators.

    WiRSA Board of Directors

     Supported by the Wisconsin Cooperative Education Services Agency (CESA) districts, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the UW System and rural school districts, our aim is to continually enhance and improve rural school education.

    The newly-elected WiRSA Board of Directors began their terms of office at the first board meeting of the year on January 14, 2015.  Officers for 2015 are:

    President - Bob Houts, Owen-Withee

    Past President - Leah Luke, Mauston

    President-Elect - Jeremy Biehl, CESA #5

    Secretary - Mellow Jorgensen, Darlington

    Treasurer - Jerry Walters, CESA #11 


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    Voices in Rural Education

    Rural Wisconsin

    Wisconsin's rural residents talk about their memories, perspectives on life in rural Wisconsin today, and their hopes for the future.

    Listen now ...

    A partnership between Portal Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters