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Teacher at home at Carver
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Ashley Tilley, a new second-grade teacher at Carver Elementary School in Henry County, prepares a calendar on the wall in her classroom. She feels at home at Carver, considering she was a student there herself when it was a middle school. (Bulletin photo by Mickey Powell)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Ashley Tilley's dream was to be a teacher in the Henry County Schools.

Today, she realizes that dream as she begins teaching the second grade at Carver Elementary School.

A graduate of Bassett High School, Tilley attended the county schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. In May, she received a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies (elementary education) from Radford University.

"I've always loved it here (in Henry County), every school that I've been to, and I want to give back to the community what it's given to me," Tilley said.

"All of my teachers left a positive influence on me and my life," she said, adding, "I hope I can do the same thing for all of my students."�

Tilley said she would recommend to all college students planning a teaching career - no matter where they are from - that they seek a job in either the Henry County or Martinsville schools.

"Here, everybody knows everybody," and it is easy to get to know people and develop friendships, said Tilley. For that reason, she said, she thinks she will quickly be able to develop good relationships with her students' parents.

All of the teachers and staff at Carver have "gone out of their way to make me feel welcome," she noted.

Tilley attended Carver when it was a middle school. She once had an English class in the classroom to which she was assigned.

"It's neat to come back and see how it's changed," she said with a smile, noting that the school has undergone a lot of remodeling since she was a student there.

For instance, classrooms have newer windows, and the school now is air-conditioned. Whiteboards that replaced chalkboards a few years ago since have been replaced with SMART Boards, which have computer technology. Former locker rooms have been turned into classrooms, she also noted.

With her love of children, Tilley expects to be in the field of education until she retires. She plans to eventually pursue a master's degree in educational administration, with a goal of someday becoming a principal.

But she is in no immediate hurry to pursue that phase of her career.

For the foreseeable future, "I want to continue doing what I do best, and that's teaching," Tilley said.

The Henry County Schools hired 34 new teachers for the 2009-10 school year. Dewitt House, assistant superintendent of instruction, said that is the fewest new teachers the system has had to hire in one year during the 10 years he has been with the school system.

Of all the new teachers this year, 30 are from Southside, House said.

"It's always nice to hire teachers" from the area, he said, because "they have a tendency to stay" with the county schools longer than others.


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