North Central College alumni talk at the Kern Foundation Character Education Institute.

North Central News

Character Education program update: inspiration and impact

Kim MacGregor

Dec 19, 2022

On November 10, 2022, North Central College's Character Education Institute hosted nearly 40 K-12 current and aspiring educators and leaders from different school districts to share learnings and connect with one another.

Everyone in attendance had taken part in at least one of North Central’s three Character Education initiatives, all funded by a generous grant from the Kern Family Foundation. The three components of the grant are a character-infused Master in Educational Leadership degree program for aspiring leaders; the Character Education Certificate for educators, specialists, and administrators; and the Leadership Academy for practicing district and building leaders. All offerings are offered online and have attracted participants from across the United States and abroad.

In opening remarks at the November 10 event, North Central College Interim President Donna M. Carroll underscored that joy and character are the essential ingredients” to leadership.

North Central College alumni talk at the Kern Foundation Character Education Institute.

Sharon Wysoglad, Character Education project director, then shared an update on the framework that the College has created to build “cultures of character” in schools across urban, suburban and rural areas. Around tables at the event, educators, aspiring leaders and administrators discussed the benefits of focusing on social, emotional and ethical competencies.

The event was also poignant. Two days prior, Robert D. Kern had passed away at the age of 96. Together with his wife, Patricia, Bob cultivated a legacy defined by character, entrepreneurial thinking, generosity, and generational impact. 

In late 2018, the Kern Family Foundation awarded a generous 4.5-year, $3.2 million grant to North Central College. At the time, it was the largest private grant in the College’s history. It led to creation of the Character Education Instituteanchored by North Central’s Leadership, Ethics and Values (LEV) program and the School of Education and Health Science.

Mr. Kern’s passion for funding programs that initiate systemic change led to the historic grant award from which North Central’s Cultures of Character Initiatives evolved,” said Wysoglad.We are grateful to the Kern Family Foundation, which has provided an endorsement for North Central’s commitment to preparing educators who are grounded in character virtues and a commitment to fostering a culture of character in their classrooms, schools and communities.”

North Central College is dedicated to inspiring well-equipped and responsible educators and leaders.  

For more information, contact, call (630) 637-5555 or apply for the degree program. 

Professor Tom Cavenagh addresses the Character Education event.

Professor Tom Cavenagh addresses the Character Education event.