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Galyon named incoming chair of national organization on rural special ed

JOHNSON CITY — Dr. Cathy Galyon, a faculty member in the Clemmer College at East Tennessee State University, has been elected incoming chair of the American Council on Rural Special Education (ACRES).
 
ACRES is a national organization of nearly 200 members dedicated to advancing the delivery of special education in rural locations.
 
Galyon, who teaches in ETSU’s Department of Educational Foundations and Special Education, says that while there is a high turnover of special education teachers across the country, the issue is especially problematic in rural areas.
 
“In some places, there may be only one special education teacher in the whole county,” Galyon said. “Some of them feel isolated, and we want to support these educators by advocating to the government for more resources and funding.
 
“We are also trying to build a strong community of support for these teachers,” she added. “Distance education and other webinar training opportunities are very important, and there are some professional development programs now available that help teachers address some of the unique issues of working in rural areas.”
 
Galyon spent several years as a special education teacher in rural middle and east Tennessee where she worked with birth to age 3 pre-school children and those in K-5 with severe disabilities.
 
An ETSU faculty member since 2012, she has been with ACRES since 2003. She assumes the chair position in March 2022.
 
Dr. Sara Beth Hitt, also a faculty member in ETSU’s Department of Educational Foundations and Special Education, serves as a member-at-large for ACRES.
 
“It is evident that Dr. Galyon understands and cares about the needs of the rural community,” Hitt said. “ACRES is lucky to have someone with her experience and commitment to the organization. I look forward to serving under her leadership.”