What Our Students Say

Mr. Matt Rhoades, Principal and Athletic Director, Athens Jr. High School, Athens, Illinois

Mr. Matt J. Rhoades is the Principal and Athletic Director of the Athens Junior High School in Athens, Illinois. He originally taught 1st grade there for one year and then 3rd grade for 8 years.   During that time, Matt went back to school and obtained his Master’s degree from UIS in the Educational Leadership Department and pursued an Elementary Principalship in the Jacksonville School District at Murrayville-Woodson. He was the Elementary Principal there for 4 years, when an opening occurred back in Athens, so he returned to serve as their Junior High Principal, and has been there for the past 5 years. Now, he has decided to further his education yet again and is in the Superintendent Endorsement program taking his 5th class. Besides being an educator and an administrator, Mr. Rhoades also wrote and published the book, “Tough Luck Tim and the Toilet Twister,” which is about bullying.

“The Principalship pedagogy at UIS has been very instrumental in providing a foundation for the position as a principal.  Courses offered by UIS such as, Organizational Dynamics, School Law, and leadership teachings, as well as many others, helped by providing not only new knowledge but an understanding of the various facets involved in such a position.”  Read more about Mr. Rhoades (PDF).



Madalyn Barnes
Madalyn Barnes

Madalyn Barnes is a Department of Human Services student in the Child and Family Studies concentration.  She is a Service Coordinator for Early Intervention. Early Intervention is voluntary program for children birth to three with special needs. I enjoy the helping field, it’s a way of life for me. I received my undergraduate degree from UIS in just three years. I also played on the UIS volleyball team, was a resident assistant, worked part time at the UIS Cox Children’s Center, and participated in Resident Housing

“I would advise future students to fully immerse themselves in the UIS experience. Take part in GSPI, volunteer, and many more opportunities help shape your life and career vision. UIS has given me all of these opportunities and many more life lessons that are priceless. I am so thankful for the experience!”  Read more about Madalyn Barnes (PDF).


Chase Brinkley is an outstanding Teacher Education student who presented a project for our annual UIS StARS research syposium in April 2014.

“During my second semester at UIS I was introduced to TEP advisor, Dr. Kahn.  His experience as a teacher and passion for teaching changed my ideas of becoming an educator.success graduate
Read more about Chase Brinkley (PDF).