Staff Spotlight Ashley Brown

"PBA helps grow students’ confidence in their abilities. ”

Problem Solving Inspires Brown’s Work 

By Emile Creel

Cindy Ming

Ashley Brown landed in education from a love of reading and learning. While teaching high school English, she enjoyed sharing literature and breaking down problems to facilitate students understanding. That problem-solving personality has gone with her as she’s changed roles from teaching students to crafting assessments.

 

As a data coach at the RCU, Brown works with teachers in career and technical education (CTE) pathways to build assessments that include showcasing students’ skills and receiving reviews from industry professionals. This is a position she couldn’t have imagined having when she graduated from Mississippi State with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in English, but it has been a great fit for her investigative nature to dissect the best way to modify performance-based assessments (PBAs) .

 

Testing can be stressful for students, said Brown. “PBA helps grow students’ confidence in their abilities. They have the opportunity to show off something they’ve made, and industry professionals look at what they’ve done.”

 

Within PBA, she currently works with eight CTE pathways, and the possibility of growing is always open. In addition to this work of revising and supporting teachers, her position has also grown to include assisting CTE teachers in the New Teacher Induction (NTI) program and providing support for the RCU website.

 

At the RCU, Brown no longer deals directly with students as she did in teaching, but she knows the impact that testing has on teachers, whether in day-to-day instruction or lesson preparation. Through PBA and NTI, she is influencing how teachers deliver materials, and thus how students perform.

 

“I hope we are using professional development to encourage lifelong learning and that testing doesn’t have to dominate the classroom,” said Brown.

 

Brown’s role allows her to continue learning as she researches best practices and revisions for PBA and other projects. Outside of the RCU, Brown continues learning new skills, including web development. She’s completely self-taught in the discipline, and she is still working to enhance her skills with freelance projects.

 

“I like taking on different challenges and fixing the problems,” said Brown. “Currently, I’m working on understanding JavaScript, and I’m finishing up building a website for my husband’s woodworking business.”

 

Brown and her husband stay busy with projects like woodworking, knitting, and web development. Each pastime brings new challenges, but Brown continues to break each project down and enjoys the process of finding a solution, whether in education or a hobby.

Fun Facts

  • Years at the RCU:

    5
  • Education:

    Bachelor of Science in secondary education and Master's in English from Mississippi State University
  • Family:

    Husband, Jake, and dog, Crackers
  • Hometown:

    Raymond, NH
  • Currently Reading:

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig
  • If I wasn't working at the RCU, I would be...

    A freelance web developer.
  • On a typical weekend, you're most likely to find me...

    At home working on a project.
  • Favorite Subject in School:

    Art