North Central College - Naperville, IL

Gary Ireland: Challenging New Leaders

Formerly the College's dean of students, Ireland is now sharing his 25 years of experience by teaching graduate-level classes and mentoring graduate assistants. Most of the students in his fall term class are specializing in the new higher education leadership track within the master of leadership studies program.

William Muck: Sharing His Enthusiasm

It took just two years for William Muck, assistant professor of political science, to endear himself as a favorite teacher among North Central College students. He was named the winner of the 2010 Dissinger Award for Junior Faculty with enthusiasm and endorsements.

Heather Coon: Finding Her Destiny

As a graduate student at the University of Michigan, Associate Professor of Psychology Heather Coon thought she was headed for a research career in social and cultural psychology. Then she realized that classroom teaching at a small college was her destiny and ultimately landed at North Central College. She obviously found her true calling, winning the 2010 Dissinger Award for Senior Faculty thanks to student nominations.

Alex Pirela '13: Ready, Willing, and Able

It's easy for Alex Pirela '13 to articulate why he was motivated to become an RA. "I want to guide first-year students in their transition from high school," he says. "There are so many challenges that you can help them with: living conditions, class schedules and time management."

Pirela wants them to know that "college sets us up for the rest of our lives. How we treat another person, achieve a goal in class and form habits will make us or break us in real life."

Don Moravec '69

Don Moravec '69 frequently relies upon the principles forged in a 31-year career as an educator in his current role as North Central's head women's tennis coach.

"Coaching is educating, but in a different setting," he says. "They both involve having knowledge of a subject and being able to demonstrate it to others. They both require repetition, and they both require good fundamentals, whether it's taking general math before algebra or having the proper grip on a racket before you serve."

John Rygiewicz: Lessons in Hard Work

Students who choose to work in the maintenance department with John Rygiewicz are expected to put out a lot of energy in all types of weather. And they quickly learn that they are part of a tradition of camaraderie, hard work and pride that complements their transformation into well-rounded young adults. They also learn a work ethic that has long been the hallmark of North Central's maintenance staff.

Kathy Guy '98 Guthrie: Inspired by Great Teaching

Teaching at Florida State Univeristy in Tallahassee, FL, Kathy Guy '98 Guthrie still has flashbacks to her days at North Central College. When she ponders how to best reach her students, she reflects on her days as a student of Tom Cavenagh, Schneller Sisters Professor of Leadership, Ethics and Values. " I still think about his teaching today, how he would get students to care about a topic," she says.  "He was one of the people at North Central who changed my life."

Joey Sanchez '95: Coaching with Impact

In 15 years as a history teacher at Barrington High School and nine years as head football coach, Joey Sanchez '95 demonstrates principles that he experienced both as a music student in North Central's Concert Choir and as a four-year football player with coaches that included Jim Miller '86, now North Central's athletic director.

"My philosophy is, 'what are we doing to make them better people in the long run?'" he says of his approach. "Maybe it's reinforcing that they should arrive on time, ready to engage in studying or practice."

Alexis Ledbetter '12: Nurturing Diversity

Away from classroom lessons in English, biology and history, Alexis Ledbetter '12 sees the need to teach young women about some other topics that will serve them well over their lifetimes. Ledbetter focuses on helping them understand the importance of acceptance and encourages their respect for others' backgrounds and personal situations. As a second-year Resident Assistant (RA) in Peter and Paul Hall and one of 47 RAs on campus, Ledbetter exemplifies the role of residence life staff in the crucial adjustment of first-year students.

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