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Helping Rural Students Reach Graduation

Amy McBroom

Art Teacher/Grand Canyon Unified School District

1992 BS in Art Education


In 2009, alumna Amy McBroom was named the Best Rural Teacher in the Nation by the National Rural Education Association because of her successes in the beautiful, yet remote Grand Canyon Unified School District.

A 1992 graduate of the Northern Arizona University College of Education, McBroom credits the department's faculty with her positive experiences earning her teaching degree.

"My professors helped to shape my future. They didn't give me all of the answers, but helped me to find the answers that were right for me. In my classroom, I am able to incorporate 'best practices' while seeking new paths that inspire me and my students." She has adapted and changed her 'best practices' to address the individual challenges of her students.

McBroom made a difference in the lives of nine sophomores. All but two of these students were on their way to dropping out of school. McBroom promised that if they were still in school and making good grades at the end of the junior year, she would take them to New York City to study some of the nation's landmarks. Her promise was fulfilled and eight of them graduated from high school and four went on to college.

The Best Rural Teacher in the Nation award was celebrated by Arizona State Senator Steve Pierce who said, "McBroom's personal investment in the success of her students is very touching, and the fact that she set a goal for global exposure to students from a very small setting is a great example of incentives and rewards. Ms. McBroom clearly demonstrated leadership by letting students take control and responsibility for their (own) success."

Without a doubt, McBroom has significantly shaped the lives of her students and has shown them the world beyond the rim.

"Teaching is a discovery process," she says. "There is no routine. My NAU professors helped me to find the flexibility to mold the path that works for me."