In this article we address the role of rural schools in community development. We first discuss the largely historical linkages between rural schools and the communities they serve, and what this means for both school and community well-being. We then consider the newly revised standards for preparing school administrators, developed by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium, and how these standards may align with community-building efforts. In sum, we argue that enlightened educational leadership that seriously takes into account the 21st Century needs of students – as well as the communities in which they reside – cannot help but interpret academic and community improvement goals as mutually reinforcing priorities.

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