Steven Fouse Brings Deep Experience in Missouri's Educational Landscape and Systems to Support Student Advising for rootEd Missouri.
rootEd Missouri, a statewide initiative designed to boost outcomes for students in rural communities by placing dedicated advisors in rural high schools to provide students with college and career planning support, today announced Steven Fouse will serve as its first executive director and will guide the next chapter of the successful initiative.
Fouse brings to rootEd Missouri more than 15 years of experience and leadership in public service, customer service, and education. Fouse joins rootEd Missouri from Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC), where he most recently served as College Director of Student Success. Fouse has worked at OTC for over eight years in a variety of student affairs roles, including academic advising and student development. Over the past five years, he led efforts to redesign academic advising for the college. This work resulted in a holistic redesign of student advising and support systems, which increased levels of student success and goal attainment.
rootEd Missouri is a partnership among national philanthropic organization rootEd Alliance, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and OTC. rootEd Missouri has placed dedicated advisors, called rootEd advisors, in 135 high schools—about one-third of all rural high schools—across the state.
rootEd advisors, working alongside school counselors, help students explore career paths, identify and apply to best-fit post-high school options—whether they enroll in college, seek career training, or enlist in the military—and create a financial plan to ensure these options are within reach.
rootEd Missouri’s Next Chapter
In his role as executive director, Fouse will lead all aspects of rootEd Missouri, as well as build a long-term vision and strategic plan for the initiative, including scaling it in partnership with key stakeholders.
The addition of the executive director position reflects the statewide initiative’s successful track record and growth strategy. Participating schools across the state have seen impressive gains for students, according to the latest available data. Among the highlights:
- rootEd Missouri schools’ FAFSA completion rate reached 61%, compared to a statewide average of 48%
- 98% of students in rootEd Missouri schools have developed a post-high school plan with their rootEd advisor
- 70% of students have participated in job shadowing or industry tours
“We’re thrilled to welcome Steven as the first executive director of rootEd Missouri,” said Noa Meyer, president of rootEd Alliance. “Steven’s entrepreneurial spirit, deep leadership experience, and knowledge of Missouri’s education and career planning landscape will guide the next phase for rootEd Missouri, and will greatly benefit advisors and their students across the state.”
“It has always been important to me to help set up students to graduate high school on a path to achieve career success and economic stability, especially those rural students who so often face additional barriers,” Fouse said. “rootEd’s advising model has proven to be a scalable solution with long-term effects, and I’m excited to continue to, with our rootEd advisors on the ground, serve these students, their communities, and in turn, our state as a whole.”
About rootEd Alliance
Every student should graduate high school on a path to achieve career success and economic stability. rootEd Alliance places dedicated college and career advisors in rural high schools to work with all students to define and plan their futures, whether through a college degree, work-based learning, or military service. Launched in 2018 and now operating in Missouri, Texas, and Idaho, 183 rootEd advisors have served 30,000 students at 189 high schools. This approach is working: in the 2022 school year, rootEd schools saw a 13% increase in postsecondary enrollment, while national enrollment rates remained flat over the same time period. rootEd Alliance is made possible by a group of philanthropists and family and founder-led businesses, convened by BDT & MSD Partners. For more information, please visit: https://rootEdAlliance.org.