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North Central College Announces New Partnership with AIRSS

North Central College’s School of Education and Health Sciences and the School of Graduate and Professional Studies have launched a new partnership with the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools (AIRSS) to support educators across Illinois. The partnership enables North Central to expand its outreach for the Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree program and Character Education Certificate program to AIRSS members.


The Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools was chartered in 1987 with the purpose of presenting a unified effort to promote educational excellence in rural and small schools in Illinois. AIRSS is the only statewide organization that helps to promote and enhance education in rural and small schools in every community and location of Illinois.

North Central College is committed to inspiring well-equipped, principled, responsible educators and leaders. Through a $3.2 million grant—the College’s largest ever private grant—North Central has launched several unique initiatives focused on social, emotional and ethical competencies. What makes North Central College distinctive is their dedication to foster and nurture cultures of character across all school system they serve.


“This partnership comes at a key juncture for the College’s outreach and recruitment efforts. The new online delivery format of our Character Certificate program and our Educational Leadership degree program means we are now able to deliver character-infused preparation for teachers and aspiring leaders in rural communities across Illinois,” stated Abiodun Goke-Pariola, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs.

“We value the opportunity to work with North Central and especially their Cultures of Character Project. This partnership will provide new avenues of professional development and will provide a tangible tuition benefit for rural educators who work for AIRSS member school districts,” stated Dave Ardrey, Executive Director of AIRSS and President of the National Rural Education Association.


Dr. Bruce Spitzer, professor of education and chair of the department of education at North Central, recognizes the power of working with the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, “We are so proud to be actively engaged with this well-respected organization. We look forward to opportunities ahead that will allow us to share resources, explore new ideas and address educational challenges to improve teaching and learning in the rural communities.”


For more information about the College’s character initiatives visit: https://www.northcentralcollege.edu/character-initiatives.


For more information, contact:

Marsha B. Webster

North Central College

mbwebster@noctrl.edu | 630-637-5842


About North Central College

North Central College provides students with the confidence, instruction and direction they need to exceed their personal best inside and outside of the classroom and throughout their careers. Founded in 1861, and located just 28 miles west of Chicago in the Historic District of Naperville, Ill.—named among the nation’s “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine—North Central is home to nearly 3,000 students and offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, 60 additional undergraduate minors and concentrations, and 13 graduate degree programs. Visit northcentralcollege.edu to discover why U.S. News & World Report has named North Central a “Best in the Midwest” school for 20 years in a row and to learn more about the College’s state-of-the-art facilities and distinctive programs, particularly in the sciences and business

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