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National Rural Education Association

About NREA

The National Rural Education Association (NREA) was originally founded as the Department of Rural Education in 1907. It is the oldest established national organization of its kind in the United States. Through the years, it has evolved as a strong and respected organization of rural school administrators, teachers, board members, regional service agency personnel, researchers, business and industry representatives, and others interested in maintaining the vitality of rural school systems across the country.

Our Director

Allen Pratt, DirectorDr. Allen Pratt has served as a high school science teacher and coach, high school principal, assistant superintendent/curriculum director, executive director of the Tennessee Rural Education Association, executive director of the East Tennessee Center of Regional Excellence for the Tennessee Department of Education, and rural outreach liaison for Lincoln Memorial University. His primary interests include issues that impact rural schools and the role of instructional leaders at the district and building levels. He is also involved at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga School of Education and Educational Leadership.

Dr. Allen Pratt is the executive director of the National Rural Education Association. He has served in this role for five years. The focus of his work is providing a unified voice for rural schools and communities. His work in the past has been in the areas of workforce development, school reform, professional learning communities, and rural education initiatives.

Non-Profit Organization

The NREA is a membership organization that operates as a tax-exempt, non-profit entity. It is directed by an elected executive committee consisting of national representatives of:

  • Rural School Administrators
  • Rural School Teachers
  • State Education Agencies
  • Educational Service Agencies
  • Higher Education
  • Rural School District Boards
  • At-Large Constituencies


In addition to the executive committee, the NREA has two governing bodies—the corporate meeting and the delegate assembly, made up of two representatives (and two alternates) from each of the 50 states. The delegate assembly hears reports from standing committees and confirms resolutions, policy matters, and other policies of the association.

Affiliate organizations, represented by one delegate at the annual delegate assembly, meet annually at the NREA Annual Convention.