The Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools (AIRSS) is led by a dedicated Board of Directors, all actively working in rural and small schools, with a strong commitment to advocacy, and in support of the Vision and Mission of AIRSS.
Dr. Jennifer Garrison
Dr. Garrison is the Superintendent of the Vandalia Community Unit School District #203, and is in her 14th year as an Illinois Superintendent. She is a 1995 graduate of Vandalia Schools and has come home to proudly serve and represent her community. She has served AIRSS for over a decade. Learn more.
Immediate Past President
Edwin was a special education teacher at Brookport Elementary and Vienna Grade School from 2000 to 2008, then became the Assistant Regional Superintendent of Schools for ROE #2. In 2010, he became the Superintendent of the Vienna High School District 13-3. After 5 years at Vienna, he became the Superintendent of Cobden CUSD #17, a PK-12 district.
Dr. Patrick Mark Twomey
Dr. Twomey believes there is nothing that impacts human life more than a quality education, and firmly believes that every child is entitled to just that….a quality education! His education philosophy is quite simple. We must meet or exceed the individual needs of every student every day…period. Learn more.
Mr. Lovel attended both John A. Logan and SIUC before becoming an educator in the Trico and Marion School Districts. Mr. Lovel has sixteen years of administrative experiences as a Pre-K -12 Principal in the Elverado, Red Bud, and Murphysboro School Districts. Mr. Lovel is currently in his 7th year as Superintendent at Trico. It is his goal to provide the children of the Trico community with a model system of rural education that supports each child to reach their full and unique potential.
Dr. Paige Maginel
Dr. Maginel has been the superintendent of Dongola Unit #66 for the last nine years. Prior to this role, Dr. Maginel served as a special education teacher, Director of Special Education, and in the university setting. Learn more.
Mr. Janssen grew up in northwestern Illinois in a small rural school very similar to Spoon River Valley. He was an Agriculture teacher before entering into school administration. He has been a school administrator for over 15 years. Mr. Janssen has been a constant supporter of small rural schools and the educational experience they can produce. He believes that too often we try and use a one size fits all for all schools in Illinois and that rarely is effective. Learn more.
Dr. Marleis Trover
Board Member at Large
Before Marleis retired, she was an elementary, secondary and unit superintendent. Her last service was at Vienna High School 13-3. She also served on the Governor’s Team for Educational Excellence, the Illinois Virtual High School Board, and the Illinois Baldrige in Education Board. She is married to Bob Trover, and they have three grown children. Learn more.
Advocacy Board Member
Dr. Matias is dedicated to student success, and he remains at the forefront in instructional and cultural conversations. He began teaching in 1990 and continued to do so in Montana, Indiana, and Illinois until he became the assistant principal at Kanoon Magnet Elementary School.
Advocacy Board Member
Jessica is the Project Director at Advance Illinois. As a proud daughter of Mexican immigrants and with roots stemming from the Southwest side of Chicago, Jessica is committed to elevating communities historically marginalized by the policy making process including Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. Learn more.
Mr. David M. Ardrey is now in his 10th year as the Executive Director of the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools (AIRSS). Before joining AIRSS he served as the Director of School Partnerships and Outreach at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he was a founding member and first Chairman of the Rural Schools Collaborative, and he has committed the last 10 years serving NREA on its executive committee, the Foundation (NREAF) and its policy Coalition (NREAC). Learn more.
Ms. Hailey Winkleman has assisted the Association since 2018, consulting in matters of communications, marketing, and membership and representing AIRSS at conferences and events. She first got involved with AIRSS as a student; she was connected to the organization through a professor at SIU Carbondale. Now, she is a full-time communications consultant DBA Evil Eye Creative Studio. Hailey is a rural southern Illinois native and continues to live and work in the community she grew up in.
More information coming soon.