Fellow Profile: Ashley Pollard
Legislative Fellow, Philadelphia City Council
The physical space of TeachHouse represented camaraderie to me during my fellowship. After a day's work in my classroom, walking into a space in which I knew others could relate to my day's experience was immediately comforting. On most evenings, at least one of my roommates was available to listen, problem-solve, and share. This type of camaraderie would not have been possible without the shared physical space of TeachHouse.
Ashley was a TeachHouse Inaugural Fellow and later a Resident Mentor from 2015 - 2018. She received her B.A. in Public Policy and Minor in Education from Duke University in 2015. After graduation, Ashley taught 2nd grade for three years at Pearsontown Magnet Elementary School, serving in several leadership roles such as Equity Champion and School Improvement Team Vice President. She was also named Pearsontown's 2017 Beginning Teacher of the Year and was selected as one of three finalists for the 2017 Durham Public Schools Beginning Teacher of the Year. Inspired to influence education policy decisions, she pursued her Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, where she was named a 2018 - 2019 Pablo Eisenberg Interest Fellow. She concurrently worked on the Committee on Education at the Council of the District of Columbia, which sparked her interest in local education legislation. Ashley is passionate about supporting government accountability in providing a sound education for marginalized students, and explored this passion as a Legislative Fellow for the Philadelphia City Council. Her current position is K-12 Digital Access Program Manager with the City of Philadelphia. Ashley is from Buford, Georgia.
Describe your path after your TeachHouse fellowship. How did TeachHouse Impact your future work?
I had an itch for policy and thinking about decision making in education at state and local levels. I pursued my Master of Public Policy immediately after teaching. I just wrapped that up, which is exciting! During my time in graduate school I also interned for the Council of the District of Columbia on the Education Committee. I would say that TeachHouse helped me to be a stronger elementary educator and it also helped me to start shifting my perspective to start thinking about the bigger world outside of my second grade classroom. That paired really well with my work at the Council.
In Durham, my school was a pretty diverse school racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically. In our TeachHouse meetings, I would be surrounded by high school educators and teachers who were teaching in different socioeconomic school makeups and racial and ethnic makeups. TeachHouse broadened my perspective of teaching and education and the needs for students beyond what was going on in my classroom, and my work for the Council has expanded on that in a new way. DC’s school district is very large and it is 50% public schools and 50% public charter schools. It’s a very different landscape than Durham, but I would say TeachHouse really prepped me to understand differences in education systems and differences in student needs beyond what was happening in my second grade classroom.