ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: A network across fields, orchards, and hills

By Nancy Akhavan and Marcy Masumoto
October 2019
Vol. 40, No. 5
“Collaboration with colleagues is an essential component to my participation due to the challenge of being small, isolated, and rural. It takes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me to be the best leader I can be for my children and staff.” — Superintendent of a small, rural school district This reflection came after two years of working with superintendents, district staff, and teachers in a professional learning experience designed for rural school districts. The Rural Schools Network, led by the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute (now the Welty Center) at Fresno State in California, is more than a network or a series of meetings for superintendents. It is an authentic professional learning community.  An authentic professional learning community has certain attributes, including structural conditions,

Read the remaining content with membership access. Join or log in below to continue.

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Log In


Nancy Akhavan and Marcy Masumoto

Nancy Akhavan ( is assistant professor of educational leadership at California State University, Fresno. Marcy Masumoto ( is a trustee of the Fresno County Board of Education in California.


Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute. (n.d.). Leadership decisions for development of problem of practice. Unpublished raw data.

Chalker, D.M. (Ed.). (1999). Leadership for rural schools: Lessons for all educators. Lancaster, PA: Technomic Publishing.

Curtis, R.E. & City, E.A. (2009). Strategy in action: How school systems can support powerful learning and teaching. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Hartzog, C., Abrams, C., Erbstien, N., London, J.K., & Watterson, S. (2017, January). California’s San Joaquin Valley: A region and its children under stress. Davis, CA: UC Davis for Regional Change.

Hord, S. (2015, June). What is an authentic professional learning community? JSD, 36(3), 38-39.

+ posts
+ posts

The Learning Professional

Published Date


  • Recent Issues

    June 2021

    Professional learning is an essential lever for achieving equity for all...

    April 2021

    The early years of school matter for all of us, because they lay the...

    February 2021

    Amid crisis, there is opportunity that can galvanize change. This issue...

    December 2020

    Excellent educators are made, not born, and it takes a system-wide...