Ashley Stephens has taught second and third grade for several years at Foundation Academy’s Lower School Plant Street campus, and this year she is teaching STEM across multiple grade levels.
“I love my job because I get to teach out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving using the engineering design process as well as help students grow in their team-building and communication skills,” Stephens said.
“She does an amazing job, said Jacquelyn Conover, Lower School principal. “The students love having her as a teacher. She brings STEM alive for the students. She also does a math help class during the week. She is kind and encouraging to every student.”
What brought you to your school?
We moved near downtown Winter Garden several years ago and had heard wonderful things about Foundation Academy. I started teaching here four years ago, and my daughters started attending the same year.
What do you love most about your school?
One thing I love about teaching at FA is being surrounded by educators who have the biggest hearts for their students. As a faculty, we support each other, learn from each other, and are truly a family. As a mom of students at FA, I have been so happy with the education my children have received as I have watched them grow under the wings of so many wonderful teachers.
What is your motivation?
My motivation is definitely my students. My passion as a teacher is for every student in my classroom to know that God made them on purpose, for a purpose, and to believe that they all have strengths that can be used both in the classroom and in the world.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the progress that students make throughout the year, achieving things they once thought impossible. I also love building relationships with my students. I have a place in my heart for each one of them, even after they leave my classroom. It always makes my day when a former student stops me to say hello.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to spend time outdoors, read and travel with my family.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
My favorite teacher was my high school music teacher, Mr. Weber. He directed both the choir and band and also ran our traveling music team. He was willing to work with any student regardless of how much experience they had and helped so many of us grow as musicians. You could always tell he loved his job and his students.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
When I was in kindergarten, I knew that one day I wanted to be a teacher and never wavered from that. My jobs before teaching were babysitting and nannying and I have always loved working with children.
What is your favorite children’s book and why?
I love “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” It has bright illustrations, a fun story line and a surprising ending that kids love.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy using the trail near our house for walking and running, and I love to read. My daughters and I also like baking together on the weekends.
1If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I think it would be fun to be able to fly!
If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
I love music, and it would be very hard for me to just choose three artists. One artist that stands out to me is Lauren Daigle. She is a wonderful singer and role model and is someone my daughters and I enjoy listening to together.
What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?
I was a peanut butter-and-jelly fan and loved Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies. Even though I was able to make my own lunch, my mom considered packing my lunch a gift she could give me every day and did it all the way through my last day of high school.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
I enjoy creating traditions for holidays, and my favorite traditions are probably on Thanksgiving. I love teaching my girls how to make different family recipes and having extended family over for dinner. On Thanksgiving night, we give our girls something we call a “Christmas box.” It has their Christmas pjs, hot cocoa mix, candy canes and a new ornament for the tree. They wear their Christmas pjs that night, and it is our way to kick off the Christmas season.
Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?
My best friend growing up was Meredith, and we have been friends since first grade. She lives in New Jersey, and we still talk frequently and make the effort to visit each other’s families.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
I accompanied the choir and traveling music team in high school (my husband sang on the same team) and played timpani in the school band. I received first place for piano in a national private school music competition and received a piano scholarship for college. Something else I enjoyed in high school was being part of the drama productions; my favorite role was Cinderella.