David Ardrey, Executive Director


David Ardrey is chairman of the Rural Schools Collaborative. David currently serves as the Executive Director of the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools (AIRSS), and the Director of School Partnerships and Outreach at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He also serves as a member of the not-for-profit group, Rural Schools and Community Initiative in the southern region of Illinois.

Mr. Ardrey’s work focuses on developing program and partnership opportunities in the rural school and community setting. The work is designed to create unique opportunities for Higher Education (universities) and PK-12 schools to work as partners, to develop programs that support teachers, students and communities.

His self-described attribute of being a “pragmatic visionary” allows him to listen to an idea and convert it to a working project or program. Within this context he will provide support in the following areas; creative and strategic planning, critical thinking within the program and budget planning process, policy guidance, financial oversight, and program and project management including people/personnel development. Mr. Ardrey has put these skills to work with local districts working on School Improvement Grants (SIG), 21st Century Grants and most recently on issues regarding the new common core or Illinois Learning Standards.

Mr. Ardrey’ s professional experience working in higher education including development, outreach and grant funded programming and his personal experiences in the private business sector allow him to bring a unique perspective to strategic planning, succession planning, issues of sustainability, budget and financial oversight and program development, implementation and management.