The Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools takes pride in the partnerships we form and the placements of our executive board to influential positions in the education sphere. These appointments help raise the rural Illinois voice at the local, state, and national level and increase visibility for issues that are important to our rural and small schools. Most recently, Executive Director Dave Ardrey was elected as President of the National Rural Education Association, the longest-active organization in America focused on rural school advocacy. We invite you to read more about this appointment in the following press release from the NREA, and join us in congratulating Mr. Ardrey!
On January 1, 2023, David M. Ardrey has been elected and will accept the role of President of the National Rural Education Association (NREA), serving as the 116th President and only the third Illinoisian to hold the position. The National Rural Education Association (NREA) was originally founded as the Department of Rural Education in 1907. It is the oldest established national education organization of its kind in the United States.
Mr. Ardrey is now in his 10th year as the Executive Director of the Association of Illinois Rural and Small 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 has committed the last 10 years serving NREA on its executive committee, the Foundation (NREAF) and its policy Coalition (NREAC).
David‘s personal and professional life has been in rural places, growing up in rural southwest Missouri and living and working with his family in downstate rural Illinois. His work has been focused on creating a place for the rural voice to be heard, ensuring the rural voice has a seat at the table and sharing a message that rural resilience should not be confused with equity.
“Mr. Ardrey’s work in Illinois will now take the national stage and his intense passion and commitment to rural schools and children will serve the National Rural Education Association well,” shared Dr. Allen Pratt, Executive Director of the NREA.