Clark Hults

“...[W]hen you change the culture, you have to go slow, you have to educate, and you have to explain what you’re doing and for what reasons. We started slow, and it became a cultural norm.”
— Heather Ainsworth for Education Week
— Heather Ainsworth for Education Week
Focus of Strength:Rural Enrollment
District:Newcomb Central School District, N.Y.

School Superintendent and Principal Clark “Skip” Hults knew something had to change in 2006, when enrollment in his upstate New York school district dropped by two students.

That meant only 55 students remained in Newcomb Central School, the remote district’s sole prekindergarten-through-12th- grade school, and the school’s continued existence might be in jeopardy.

Another school might have considered consolidation. But that wasn’t a good option for Newcomb, nestled as it is in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, where winters are harsh and mountain roads can be dangerous for school buses.

Hults, 57, came up with a different idea after talking with his brother, who lives in Australia: What if he recruited international high school students to his district? That was a major industry in Australia and other countries. Why wouldn’t it work in his rural school?

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