Understanding the context of rural school settings is critical to beginning school district leaders. Rural communities present multifaceted challenges that leaders must embrace as diverse community expectations unfold. The majority of Kansas school districts are in rural settings. Mentoring and induction shapes the experiences encountered during the first year of practice. The Kansas Educational Leadership Institute provides high quality mentoring and induction for new superintendents and principals in Kansas. Mentoring and induction provided by veteran superintendents familiar with leadership complexities in rural communities is offered through on-site visits. In addition, new superintendents participate in activities focused on building capacity through regional cohort networks, attendance at professional organization and state meetings, and in professional learning seminars. The rural superintendent wears many hats in serving their local district. Professional learning opportunities that provide leaders with strategies to focus on achievement, plan for change, and build leadership capacity in rural environments are critical for success.

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