Michael Gonzalez on Rural Innovation Zones and CTE

Key Points

  • If starting an innovation zone, be sure to hire a local champion.

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast Shawnee Caruthers is joined by Michael Gonzalez, Executive Director of Rural Schools Innovation Zone, a first-of-its-kind partnership made up of five school districts and five institutions of higher education in South Texas that, like our New Pathways campaign, help students find success in what’s next. 

In this episode, Gonzalez discusses the formation and success of specialized academies within the zone, focusing on sectors like health sciences, STEM, and trade skills, aiming to address teacher shortages and align education with regional labor market needs. The program is designed to retain talent within local communities, ensuring students have access to quality education and job opportunities nearby. 

The conversation also emphasizes the importance of superintendent collaboration, resource sharing, and community involvement in educational innovation. The Rural Schools Innovation Zone has shown significant success, with high certification pass rates and attendance, and is considered scalable and adaptable for other rural areas, highlighting the potential for rural education to drive community development and economic growth.


Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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