The Commission set up by the Scottish Government to examine rural education will be chaired by Sheriff David Sutherland who regularly sits in Stornoway Sheriff Court.
Chief Executive of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Malcolm Burr will also be a member.
The Commission is tasked with examining both how the delivery of rural education can maximise the attainment and life chances of young people in rural areas, and the link between rural education and rural communities.
The Commission will also review the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and its application and make recommendations on the delivery of all aspects of education in rural areas.
Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “Access to high quality educational opportunities is key to the sustainability of rural communities.
“The Commission on Rural Education is now tasked with looking at all aspects of education in rural areas. The individuals gathered together strike the right balance of all the interests at stake here, as well as being a knowledgeable group of experts on these issues. I am very glad that the Scottish Government and COSLA have been able to agree on remit and membership, and commit to jointly support the Commission.
“It is very helpful that those who deliver education are fully engaged along with communities and parents to make sure we are getting it absolutely right for school pupils in rural areas.
“The group will report back next spring with a number of recommendations on the way forward for the delivery of education in rural areas.”
COSLA President Councillor Pat Watters said: “Local Government has no greater responsibility than the delivery of education. Local authorities are committed to providing all children in Scotland with the best possible education no matter where they live. I am therefore pleased that the Commission will include some very experienced and knowledgeable people from across local government and beyond.
“The task in front of the Commission is not an easy one, but I feel sure that with the expertise round the table it will produce a thoughtful report. Along with the Cabinet Secretary I look forward to seeing the recommendations next year.”