Ashley joined the community at Paddington Station in the fall of 2017. Ashley’s educational background consists of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies and Creative Writing from Iowa State University (2006) in addition to a Masters of Arts degree in Education and Human Development from the University of Colorado Denver (2017). Ashley completed the Stanley British Teaching Intern Program in 2015 and currently holds a Colorado early childhood teaching license. Ashley believes the classroom environment should promote curiosity, joy, and individual reflection. When Ashley is not teaching she can be found traveling, enjoying time with family, gardening, and attempting to walk her 100 lb dog named Mobley.
Childhood is a sacred time in a person’s life when the future holds endless promise. Children can grow up to become anyone and anything they want to be. During early childhood play enables kids to transform into everyday heroes within a moment’s notice. Using their imaginations, children evolve into firemen, teachers, unicorns, space travelers, doctors, mothers and fathers – through play kids to try on all the best roles in life. The childlike wonder children possess has always enabled me to connect with my own personal childlike wonder, even as an adult.
After graduating college with a liberal arts degree, I began teaching preschool at a local Denver nonprofit that serves at-risk and underserved families. After a few years teaching, I wanted to try to hone other career skills. I worked at the Children’s Museum as a Volunteer Coordinator and also at the Butterfly Pavilion as a Special Events and Marketing Coordinator. Although I appreciate Denver’s amazing nonprofit world, my heart was continually pulled back toward working with children. I would watch the students who came to the cultural nonprofits on field trips and wish that I was back in the classroom, helping to cultivate curiosity and wonder among students. I took a personal sabbatical in order to travel through Asia with my husband, and it was during my travels that I found my true calling within the field of early childhood education. For the first time in my adult life I was transported back to childlike wonder; I couldn’t understand the languages, I couldn’t read simple signs, I didn’t understand what I was ordering at restaurants, and yet I loved every single moment. My eyes were open wide and I felt as if I was four years old again, experiencing new moments for the first time. I volunteered with children every opportunity I found and interacted with students across many different cultures. Children, regardless of where they are from, are all filled with curiosity and laughter.
Upon returning to Denver, I moved into the Montclair neighborhood and consequently drove past Paddington Station almost every day. One day, I requested a meeting with Deb Deverell during which I told her, “I feel like I am meant to come here and work for you at this school. I feel it in my heart.” Deb, being the amazing mentor that she is, told me to go back to school and get my early childhood education teaching license. Shortly after our meeting, I enrolled in the Stanley Teacher Preparation Program in order to receive my Colorado Teaching License. l also completed my Master’s Degree in Education and Human Development through the University of Colorado Denver. I worked at the Jewish Community Center for a number of years until the opportunity to teach Kindergarten at Paddington came my way this past year. Every day I wake up excited to play with my students and try on the role of everyday hero (aka teacher).
I am humbled and honored to be part of the community at Paddington and I appreciate the opportunity to cultivate curiosity and wonder in the field of early childhood education. Children are why I do what I do; they are the music makers and they are the dreamers of dreams.