About Cultivate Rural Leaders
Cultivate Rural Leaders is a incorporated as a public benefit Nebraska non-profit and has filed to be a 501(c)3 with the IRS. It is made up of a board of six individuals: Andrew Long, Bonnie Kruse, Lena Koebel, Charlie McPherson, Craig Softley, and Ben Dutton.
The current President and Volunteer Executive Director of Cultivate Rural Leaders is Andrew Long. Andrew provides all the training for Cultivate Rural Leaders thanks to his experience in multiple rural leadership opportunities. Andrew is currently the McCook Economic Development Corporation Executive Director after serving for five years as Vice President of Student Affairs for Mid-Plains Community College and McCook Community College Vice President. Under his leadership, the student affairs department focused on using a strengths-based approach to leadership and increasing employee engagement. As the engagement of the staff increased, so did the performance of the college.
After graduating college, Andrew spent six years teaching high school social studies and coaching basketball in two rural high schools at South Platte High School and Cozad High School, both in Nebraska. At South Platte, he was the social studies department teaching American history, world history, world geography, government, economics, and psychology along with coaching basketball and track. He was given the Outstanding Educator Award and the Golden Apple Teaching Award while at Cozad High School and led the Lady Haymakers basketball team to their most successful season in school history.
Between teaching and working in higher education, Andrew spent two years working for the Gallup Organization. As a training manager at a Gallup polling center, Andrew learned about using a strengths-based leadership approach and using survey research to measure workplace engagement. Both of these skills were beneficial, when Andrew took the job as Director of Admissions at Northeastern Junior College, in Sterling, CO. He worked at NJC for five years and was promoted to Dean of Enrollment Management after two and a half years and increased enrollment four of the five years there, while most other rural community colleges saw a decrease in enrollment. He is happily married and lives with his wife and three children in McCook, NE.