The National Rural Education Association is excited to welcome the following outstanding rural advocates to our Executive Committee.

Rural Research Center Rep: Dr. Amy Price Azano

Amy Price Azano is a professor of rural education and adolescent literacy in the School of Education and founding director of the Center for Rural Education at Virginia Tech. Her scholarship examines equity issues for rural youth. She served as co-principal investigator for Promoting PLACE in Rural Schools and currently serves as PI for the Appalachian Rural Talent Initiative and the Summer Enrichment Experience at Virginia Tech. Azano has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, is the co-editor of The Bloomsbury Handbook of Rural Education in the United States and Gifted Education in Rural Schools: Developing Place-Based Interventions, and is the co-author of Teaching in Rural Places: Thriving in Classrooms, Schools, and Communities. In 2021, Azano received the Stanley A. Brzezinski Memorial Rural Education Research Award from the National Rural Education Association. Azano is the immediate past president of AERA’s Rural Education SIG, and former co-editor and a current advisory board member of The Rural Educator. Learn more about the Virginia Tech Center for Rural Education.

At-Large Member Rep: Dr. Marlon Murray

Dr. Murray has been in education for over 25 years and currently serves as the principal/administrator for Northport Career Tech Annex. Prior to his current position, Murray served as Principal of David Emerson Middle School. He has also served as an assistant principal, teacher, and adjunct professor. Mr. Murray is involved with Council for Leaders in Alabama (CLAS), Alabama Association of Secondary School Principal (AASSP), and the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) as a super 7 member/host amongst many other professional organizations. [1]

President-Elect Designate: Dr. Bill Chapman

Dr. Bill Chapman was named the superintendent for the Palacios Independent School District in Palacios, TX in August 2020. Prior to Palacios, he spent eight years as superintendent in Jarrell, TX and also served as a school administrator in Coldspring, Willis, and Huntsville. Before he became a school administrator, he was a teacher and coach in both Huntsville and Corpus Christi, TX.

State Affiliate Rep #2: Dr. Steven Johnson

Dr. Steven L. Johnson is the superintendent of schools for the Lisbon Public Schools in Lisbon, North Dakota. Dr. Johnson returned to his hometown of Lisbon to become the superintendent of schools in 1993, which was the same year as his 20th HS Class Reunion. He is 4th generation of his family to live and work in Lisbon. Dr. Johnson’s great grandfather homesteaded in Lisbon, Dakota Territory in 1880. His grandfather served on the Lisbon school board from 1929-1937 during the Great Depression and his father served on the Lisbon school board from 1956-1962 during school consolidation.

Dr. Johnson received his Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. He received his Master’s from North Dakota State University in Fargo and his undergraduate degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota.

Dr. Johnson began his teaching career in Tioga, North Dakota, located in western North Dakota oil county, as a social studies teacher and wrestling and football coach in 1977. In fact, the first five years of teaching, Dr. Johnson worked on oil drilling rig during the summer months to pay for his teaching habit. He was also an administrator and teacher for Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo, North Dakota before coming to Lisbon.

Dr. Johnson is an author and peer reviewer for the Global Education Review periodical. A special interest of Dr. Johnson is the impact of declining enrollments in rural school districts. In addition to his superintendent duties, Dr. Johnson runs a cattle operation with his brother and cousins on land in Ransom County. [2]

School Board Rep: Jerry White

  • BS in Accounting/Education – University of Maine-Machias – 1967
  • MEd-School Administration University of Maine-Orono – 1980
  • CAS-Superintendency-University of Maine-Orono – 1983
  • Taught Business Education 1967-69, 73-80, Van Buren Jr-Sr High School
  • Assistant Principal at Van Buren Jr-Sr High School – 1980-83
  • US Air Force – Russian Linguist/Translator – 1969-73
  • Superintendent of Schools, various school districts – 1983-2013
  • Mid Coast School of Technology School Board – 2014-present
  • Northeast & The Islands Regional Educational Lab Governing Board – 2014-present
  • National Rural Education Association Executive Board-2017-present
  • Inducted into the NREA Hall of Fame – 2022
  • Maine’s Superintendent of the Year -1989
  • Maine Small Schools Coalition-NREA Legislative Representative – 2005-present
  • AASA/Apple Computer President’s Technology Award – 2003