The idea of Rural Aspirations started in the winter of 2011. Three veteran educators got together to talk about how they could positively impact rural Maine schools. In 2013, after many years of designing programs and teaching in rural Maine communities, we began consulting with schools to develop Multiple Pathways to graduation. We are now offering consultation services to a variety of schools interested in expanding educational opportunities and integrating community resources. Collectively, we have over 70 years of administrative, classroom and program design experience.
Korah W. Soll
Educational Design Specialist
Korah Soll is originally from a small town in Maine and has always valued the "sense of place" often fostered in small, rural communities. She designed and directed alternative education programs from 1999 to 2014. These program models are in operation at Mt. View High School, Five Town CSD and Sumner Memorial High School. Korah's work has focused on providing learning opportunities within a public school framework conducive to improving motivation, highlighting relevancy and increasing academic performance. Her programs have guided many students toward becoming leaders and strong community members. Korah was a 2010 recipient of the Maine Department of Education Commissioner's Award for her work with at-risk students. She was also a semi-finalist for the Hancock County Teacher of the Year. Korah received a B.S. Environmental Education from Unity College and an M.Ed. Leadership degree from UMAINE. She has been working with Rural Aspirations to build programming in schools since 2014.
Educational Design Specialist
Educational Design Specialist - Valerie Peacock’s first experiences in education were through the College of the Atlantic Summer Field Studies (SFS) for Children. SFS opened her eyes to a new way of teaching - outside, hands-on, relational, place-based. After 5 summers, she was inspired to get her teaching certificate. She started teaching biology at Sumner Memorial High School in 2006. She immediately began to adapt and build curriculum and programming that connected students to the deep and real connections they had to their physical and economic place She quickly felt the constraints of the traditional school system and had had the amazing opportunity to create an alternative program. In 2011, she worked with a team to design and implement the Sumner Liberal Arts Pathways program where students identified goals/passions and designed learning plans tailored to their needs. She has been working with RAP since 2013.
Maine Forest Collaborative Coordinator
Before starting a career in education, Megan earned a B.S. Degree in Botany and a Masters Degree in Ecology and Environmental Science. While completing her Bachelors degree she worked on a research project and knew she wanted to keep learning more about science and the world around her. Her masters degree brought her to Maine where she studied pollinator ecology throughout central and Downeast Maine and to make her way through her Masters degree she worked as a teachers assistant for biology labs. She found that while she loved science and research, she was drawn to the educational aspect of science and communicating science concepts to others. In 2017 she became the head of the science department at Forest Hills Consolidated school in Jackman, Maine. She loved conveying her knowledge of science to the students and engaging them through hands on laboratories as well as project and place based learning opportunities. While teaching at Forest Hills Megan redesigned the science curriculum and created many of the student learning experiences with self guided learning in mind.
Special Education Specialization
Eric Kormann currently resides in rural Waldo County and has worked as a Special Education teacher, Science teacher and in various leadership roles in both RSU #3 and the Five Town CSD for the past 17 years. Eric believes strongly in honoring the learner and has a great knack for developing strong relationships with students, staff and parents. He is continuously working to improve student experiences in a project-based, community-based behavioral program within the Five Town CSD, Rising Tide. He is dedicated to offering programming that meets the needs of diverse learners in a creative and collaborative way. He received his undergraduate degree from Unity College and an M.Ed. Leadership degree from UMAINE.
Jon Kerr is an educator with 30 + years experience working in a
variety of unique school environments. Jon began his career working as a special education/alternative education teacher at the Deer Isle Stonington High School and Ellsworth Middle School. Jon moved to the island of Islesboro and for 14 years took on the challenge of teaching all levels of science for grades 7-12 and eventually became the Principal of this K-12 school. After a 10 year stint science teaching
at Camden Hills Regional High School Jon returned to the science classroom at the Islesboro Central School. With the assistance of the Rural Aspirations Project, he and his colleauges have implemented a
successful "pathways" personalized learning model for all high school students. Jon identifies himself as a highly at-risk student who absolutely hated public school. His strong affinity for the underdog and personal mission to bring authentic meaning to the concept of becoming a “life long learner” is clearly evident in all the students he works with.
Linda Bowe is currently a mid-coast education consultant and school coach. She has worked in a variety of roles: special education teacher & consultant, elementary school principal, UMaine grad instructor. She has also served as a school leadership facilitator for the Maine Development Foundation; the Mitchell Institute; Great Maine Schools Project (now Great Schools Partnership); the Maine Department of Education; and the Hurricane Island Foundation. Her focus is to help schools develop the culture and leadership capacity to improve teaching and learning practices.
Linda earned both M.Ed. and Ed D. degrees in Educational Leadership at the University of Maine, with a special interest in the development of teacher leadership in schools. She is newly involved in the Rural Aspirations Project and is very excited about the opportunities it presents for students and teachers across rural Maine.