Staff Spotlight – October 2022

Ashley Carter | Director of Capital Teaching Residency | DC Headquarters

We want to recognize Ashley Carter as DC’s October Staff Spotlight! She is the Director of the Capital Teaching Residency at the Headquarters Office. Ashley obtained her bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary and her master’s degree from John Hopkins University. Before stepping into her role as director this year, she worked as the manager of professional development for educational programs. We recently connected with her to gain insight into her journey at DC.

What led you to choose a path in education?

“I’ve always wanted to teach and work with kids. I’ve always had a keen awareness that the world has systems to keep others down, and I believe education is my entry point and the service I can provide to make the world a better place. So that’s what drove me to education, but I particularly wanted to be a special educator because my brother has special needs. Being a black boy growing up in a public school system with documented disabilities, he was ultimately pushed out of the school system. Overall, it wasn’t a good environment. So, I wanted to be the teacher  my brother needed, so students with those kinds of disabilities have more opportunities in life.”

What led you to DC?

“The role excited me! I worked at Teach for America, so I was interested in alternative certification programs. I love the idea of ensuring that the people who stand in front of our kids have high-quality training. When I taught, I didn’t get a residency, so there was much to learn, but eventually, I became an excellent educator. So I was drawn to the DC CTR program because I wanted to ensure that every person that stood in front of black children was highly qualified.”

What is your favorite thing about the students at DC?

“They’re so funny and talented! I recently substituted for one of my residents and it reminded me how much I miss their energy. They’re so alive with how they show up in this world, funny, and always making connections. It’s just a great space to be in.”

Can you tell me how your work impacts our schools?

“Our residents are like one of the main pipelines we have for teachers in our schools. So I have the great privilege of training the teachers who ultimately stand in front of kids, and because my role is a bit more flexible, I’m able to share insight with school leaders and share those practices, which ultimately impacts our kids.”

Can you also tell me about an exciting project you worked on that impacted our students? 

“It’s currently in the planning stage but I’m excited about the new lab sites we’re going to launch. We’re identifying powerful teachers within our network and creating smaller cohorts of residents to visit their classrooms and participate in a lab site to obtain the experience and execute their practice. We’re trying to ensure that residents get a chance to go to other schools within our network and connect with additional high-quality teachers during their first year.”

As an HDQ staff member, how do you stay connected with school-base staff such as teachers, school leaders, office managers, etc.? 

“It’s important to be present. I typically come early to help with arrivals, ensuring I speak to kids, their families, and staff members. I am also aware of all the events happening at each school. I put in much effort to understand their needs and how I can show up and be present for that.”

If you could pass on any wisdom to our students, what would you tell them?

“My advice would be that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Our kids deserve happy teachers that are whole and well. For any great job, one must take care of their mental health. It’s important to set boundaries and enjoy breaks and downtime. I love DC because we have a vast network of experts; who will assist and serve each other and the students. I want our new teachers to know; that if you need help, you should ask for it, and if you need a break, you should take it – because you are never alone.”

From teaching students to developing educators, DC is proud to recognize Ashley Carter as October’s Staff Spotlight. Her hard work and dedication to our students and teachers are extraordinary. We look forward to her many positive contributions to our community.

Posted on October 18, 2022 in Awards & Recognition