Profile by Jackie Coughlin
A Courageous Move
Ashley Linda originally graduated with a BA in Communications with an Advertising concentration and an English Writing minor from Marist College in 2009. She began her education at Pace University when she ended her career at NBC in the Integrated Marketing Company. She became inspired, excited, and eager to seek out different ways to use her brain. She made phone calls to explore different graduate programs, later connecting with the superintendent of her high school. After convincing her to choose Pace, Ashley quit her job in the city and enrolled in the program in Pleasantville. Today, Ashley is a Pace School of Education alumna and current English teacher.
Pace’s program helped shape Ashley’s teaching philosophy. Dr. Joan Walker, Beth Kava, Mary Horgan, and Dr. Christine Clayton were women who helped to shape how she thought about the profession as a whole. Having a strong teaching philosophy and a deep rooted passion for the aspects of her job that she loved allowed her to stand up for what she believes in. Ashley became confident and passionate about working towards a common goal with colleagues, especially against tough obstacles.
An Influential Career
At the end of Ashley’s first year teaching at her current school, she was approached by two students who asked if she’d help them start a Women Empowered club at the high school: “Just the fact that they thought of me was an honor, but since then we have worked for three years and have turned the club into the most attended club at the high school.” They discuss issues of equality, welcome guest speakers, and write letters to representatives in government. Ashley has witnessed these young men and women grow and become leaders in the school. She has seen them face the backlash and bullying that comes with this responsibility and supported their efforts. She conveys that it’s been a fulfilling challenge.
“I truly believe that empathy and social justice are two things that we need in society. And nothing teaches you to be empathetic more than reading; you are literally walking in someone else’s shoes. And learning to communicate your thoughts and ideas is a power that no one can take away from you. And you can stand up for others using your voice.”
Other than her professors, Ashley is inspired by her boyfriend: a Pace graduate and teacher for AP and Regents US History. He supports her drive in being the best educator she can be. She additionally admires the work of her Department Chair, a teacher involved at all levels of the school, and a natural leader.
Learning Inside and Outside of the Field
Ashley’s work in literacy, research, and writing changes every year based on personal learning goals and initiatives within her school. This year, she worked with her Department Chair to incorporate an Independent Reading program into curricula based on research conducted last year, mainly by Penny Kittle (Readicide) and Chris Tovani (Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?).
At the end of every year, she finds herself reflecting on ways she can improve the program for the following year. Sometimes it’s a conversation for the department; other times it’s more personal.
Ashley emphasizes her first job as a lesson for the importance of life balance. She loves getting outside, exploring, and taking her dog Penny for hikes and long walks. She advocates for exercise and visiting the gym as ways to clear the mind.
Ashley loves to read, particularly about strong women and what it means to be a woman today. She claims to be a sucker for anything 1920’s and highly recommends Live By Night by Dennis Lehane. Ashley is also currently involved volunteering with the Peekskill Democrats.
Advice for English Majors:
“An audience is always warming but it must never be necessary to your work.” —Gertrude Stein