Character Initiatives

North Central College is committed to inspiring well equipped, principled, responsible leaders. That’s why we partnered with the Kern Family Foundation, who provided a 4.5-year, $3.2 million grant—the College’s largest private grant ever—to launch character initiatives designed to have a lasting impact. 

Through this process, North Central College will be a place where educators, aspiring leaders, administrators, and community members develop social, emotional, and ethical competencies to influence transformation in themselves and others.

A Message from President Hammond

The Kern Family Foundation believes that strong character and a high-quality, rigorous education are critical to individual and organizational excellence, and contributes to flourishing communities.

Our North Central mission aligns. We are a diverse community of learners dedicated to preparing students to be curious, engaged, ethical, and purposeful citizens and leaders in local, national and global contexts.


Strategically Designed

North Central's Cultures of Character Initiatives have been designed to:

  1. Enhance the master of education in educational leadership program with scholarships, fellowships, and curriculum enhancements.
  2. Establish a Character Education Institute with a Character Education Certificate and a Leadership Academy to support educators, principals and administrators in implementing character education to facilitate school improvement. 
project components



Master of Education Program

The Master of Education in Educational Leadership program was designed to prepare innovative, impactful leaders for PK-12 schools while meeting Illinois principal endorsement requirements. Thanks to the generosity of the Kern Family Foundation, this program also benefits from targeted scholarships, extended internship opportunities, and enhanced curriculum that prepares aspiring leaders to foster a school culture that enriches social and emotional skills.

For more information, contact or call (630) 637-5555


Character Education Institute

The Character Education Institute delivers programs and professional development for teachers, administrators, undergraduate education majors, and other community stakeholders to foster thriving communities of character in their areas of influence.

Character Education Certificate

The Character Education Certificate course, offered at a nominal fee, is ideal for administrative leaders, classroom teachers, educational specialists and school and district committees focused on school climate and culture. Upon completion of the 3 modules, licensed teachers will be eligible for 45 professional development hours. The course offers flexible entry points and is 100% online. 

"This module was atypical of other professional development I have experienced. Having Dr. Nagashima teach as well as interact with student-supplied comments was a breath of fresh air from the common professional development structure." 

Character Education Certificate pilot launch participant. 

Male and Female

Leadership Academy

2021-2022 program launches in October, 2021

The Leadership Academy, open to principals and administrative leaders, offers support for and cultivation of school leaders who utilize character virtues and practical wisdom in their professional roles. The Academy will consist of a professional speakers' series, guided reflection sessions, and an opportunity to develop a professional learning network through interaction among participants. At the conclusion of the year, there will be opportunities to apply for a mini-grant to implement a character infusion project in a school setting. The Leadership Academy is offered in partnership with IL ASCD. 

Principal Oswego

Discover Your Place

Faculty Kern MEdL

M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Details

Student teacher explaining something to students

How to Apply

Scholars bridge

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