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AIRSS Leadership

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Dr. Jennifer Garrison

President

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.

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Edwin Shoemate

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. 

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Dr. Patrick Mark Twomey

President Emeritus

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.

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Dr. Paige Maginel

Secretary

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.

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Chris Janssen

Board Member

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.

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Larry Lovel

President-Elect

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.

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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.

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Jessica Ramos

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.

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Ernesto Matias

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.

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Jerrie Walters

Treasurer

More information coming soon.

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Hailey Winkleman

Assistant Director

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. 

David Ardrey

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Executive Director

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.

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