U.S. Rural Education Official to Participate in West Virginia 'Jobs and Food Systems Tour'

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John White, deputy assistant secretary for rural outreach at the U.S. Department of Education, will spotlight education's role in driving the economy as he participates Tuesday and Wednesday in the Appalachian Regional Commission's annual "Jobs & Food Systems Tour" of West Virginia. In addition, White will visit a school in Petersburg, W.Va., recently honored as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.

White oversees day-to-day communication and outreach to rural schools, colleges and other stakeholders related to education in rural areas. He represents the secretary of education on the White House Rural Council and is the secretary's designee to the Interagency Coordinating Council for the Appalachian Regional Development Initiative (ARDI).

Schedule highlights:

TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2013
8:45 a.m.
Hampshire County High School, 157 Trojan Way, Romney, W.Va.White and the Education Department's Sherene Donaldson, who also serves as the National FFA executive secretary, will join Earl F. Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, along with officials from the U.S. Agriculture Department in visiting the school's animal and veterinary science lab, as well as classes on agriculture, forestry and wildlife. Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources is one of the 16 Career Clusters recognized by the Education Department's Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

12:15 p.m.
Tucker County High School, 116 Mountain Lion Way, Hambleton, W.Va.The group will visit the school's Farm-to-School Program, highlighting efforts to increase access to the Agriculture Department's Summer Food Service Program – a federal, state and local partnership serving chil

2:45 p.m.
Petersburg Elementary School, 333 Rig St., Petersburg, W.Va.White will tour Petersburg Elementary, recently named as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School where its environmental education is woven into hands-on science projects, as well as reading and writing classes.

8:30 a.m.
Pierpont Community & Technical College, 1201 Locust Ave., Fairmont, W.Va.White, along with the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Earl Gohl and others, will tour Pierpont's culinary arts program, focusing on the value of career-technical education and the role of community colleges in expanding access to postsecondary education for youth and adults, especially in rural areas.