New Leadership at the Rural School and Community Trust

Last Updated: August 12, 2009

Doris Terry Williams, Ed.D., Director of Capacity Building and a veteran staff member of the Rural School and Community Trust, became the organization’s Executive Director following the retirement of Rachel B. Tompkins, Ed.D., who served as president for more than a decade and will retain the title of Senior Fellow. In lieu of hiring a new president, the Board of Trustees approved establishment of the Leadership Council, which will be chaired by Dr. Williams.
The Council is based on a collaborative shared management model and will include Marty Strange, Director of Policy; José A. Arévalo, Chief Financial Officer; and Robert Mahaffey, Director of Communications. In announcing this change in leadership, Board of Trustees Chairman, Dr. James Beddow said, “The Rural Trust has grown to become the premier national organization advocating for rural schools as a direct result of Rachel’s vision and leadership. We are confident the Leadership Council, all whom Rachel hired during her tenure, will continue in this tradition.”
In accepting her new responsibilities, Dr. Williams expressed a strong commitment to the Board’s management approach, “Our team is poised to provide expanded professional development services and groundbreaking policy research.” She added, “We encourage collaboration and shared decision-making in schools and we intend to practice what we preach.” 
Prior to joining the Rural Trust in 2000, Dr. Williams was the Assistant Dean and Associate Professor in the School of Education and Director of University-School Partnerships at North Carolina Central University. In addition, she co-founded, and subsequently directed, the North Carolina Center for the Study of Black History (a major civil rights archives, now a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill Southern History Collection), and was a founder of a 100,000 watt public radio station, WVSP FM. 
She established the Warren Service Corps, a service organization of young people to provide year-round educational and cultural programs for rural youths and completed 12 years of service on the Warren County, NC, Board of Education, five as Board chairperson. She holds Ed.D. and M.Ed. degrees from North Carolina State University and an A.B. degree from Duke University.
For more informatoin contact: Robert Mahaffey, tel. (202) 822-3919, email
Formerly the Annenberg Rural Challenge, the Rural School and Community Trust is the leading national non-profit organization addressing the crucial relationship between good rural schools and thriving rural communities. Working in some of the poorest, most challenging rural places, the Rural Trust involves young people in learning linked to their communities, improves the quality of teaching and school leadership, advocates for appropriate state educational policies, and addresses the critical issue of funding for rural schools.

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