Ashley O’Dell and her two daughters moved to Asheville, drawn to the area by its beauty, community, and creative culture. She is thrilled to be a part of the FSI family as the 6th grade ELA teacher. Her goal is helping students master critical thinking skills and evoking positive self-efficacy using the beauty of literature and language. She encourages her students to value their independent learning experiences through self-expression and peer collaboration, and provides a platform for personal creativity as an avenue toward literary mastery and understanding. She aims to help students provide high quality work by engaging them in culturally rich learning experiences where growth and accomplishment is a shared, collective goal.
She previously worked with high risk 4 year olds in Bristol, Virginia where she applied Vygotskian-based teaching methods to help young children develop the principles of play in the classroom, as well as strengthen their self-regulation and executive functioning skills in positive, supportive ways. It was during this time that her interest in the theories and philosophies of how students learn grew into a deeper passion. She pursued and continued her education at King University, where she received her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in English. Her love of language, literature and writing had begun earlier in her life at Radford University, where she received a B.A. in English, as well as from her time in the Creative Writing program at James Madison University, where she participated and read her short stories and poetry at the National English Conference as one of two student representatives from JMU.
When Ashley is not spending time with her two daughters, she is running on the trails enjoying nature’s rich beauty and practicing mindfulness. She is a deep and passionate believer in equality, and values the importance of human connection. She constantly strives to better herself, her community and give to those around her and is grateful to call Asheville her home.