Morning Keynote – Redefining Rural: Dreama Gentry, Executive Director of Partners for Rural Impact, will kick off the 2022 NST Summit: Pathways to Opportunity in Rural Northern California by redefining rural, our challenges and opportunities, and the importance of our work to build capacity for our communities by using a data to identify problems and then using our local know-how to find appropriate solutions. By combining results-based leadership development, strategic investments, local partnerships and peer learning, Dreama knows that our children in rural Northern California can be ready to enter school, thrive academically, and exit high school prepared for a career or higher education.
Since 1999, Dreama Gentry has led Berea College’s educational outreach into Appalachian Kentucky as the executive director of Partners for Education, with an annual budget of more than $40 million. Gentry designs and implements projects that build on four core strategies: engaging families, lifting educational aspirations, building academic skills and connecting college and career. By leveraging funding from federal programs, such as GEAR UP, Full-Service Community Schools and Promise Neighborhoods, Partners for Education provides opportunities to more than 50,000 rural Kentucky youth.
An Annie E. Casey Children and Family Fellow, Gentry also serves on the board of directors for the Pine Mountain Settlement School, a community non-profit that offers Appalachian place-based education to people of all ages, and Fahe, a community development non-profit. She is a member of the equity coalition convened by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, which seeks to ensure the implementation of Kentucky’s new school accountability system provides educational excellence for all students and closes achievement gaps across Kentucky. Through the annual Rural College Access and Success Summit, she brings together 400 participants on average from 25 states to share inspirations and ideas for improving the educational opportunities available to students from rural communities.