Wright Middle Teacher Wins Fulbright

Wright Middle Teacher Wins Fulbright Scholarship to Study Education in Colombia
Posted on 10/06/2022
Ashley Haley

Ashley Haley, an English Learner coach at Wright Middle School, has much to celebrate this year. Not only did Haley, who has worked in Metro Schools for nearly a decade, graduate with her Education Specialist degree in school leadership earlier this year, she also was accepted to the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship program to take her learnings across the globe – and bring new ones back here. Ashley Hayley

Through the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Research Program, Haley will move to Colombia in South America early next year to fully immerse herself in Colombian schools. While there, she will spend the semester studying the strategies educators use to teach English to their students.

Most Colombian schools are bilingual schools; students learn and teachers teach in two languages simultaneously.

“The way Colombian students learn two languages alongside each other sounds so interesting to me, and much different than how we do our program here,” Haley said. “I am excited to keep an open mind to their strategies and see if there’s anything we can bring back to our EL students at Wright.

Haley’s experience with EL students, and an encouraging email from her principal, Dr. Sharada Deaton, led her to apply for the program. When she returns next spring, Haley hopes to lead professional development about her learnings and even use her work to influence policy at the state level.

“Learning English is such a challenge, and I really care that our students can learn in a way where they’re not only learning academics, but they’re also learning how to integrate into society,” she said. “Middle school really matters, and I think we can create a really firm foundation for our EL students and build their confidence while we have them. 

Haley started her career with MNPS as a one-to-one Applied Behavior Analyst at Big Picture High School. She worked there for two years prior to spending three years at Neely’s Bend Middle School and two years at Antioch Middle School before landing at Wright Middle. Haley earned bachelor’s, master’s and Education Specialist degrees from Lipscomb University.

“I am really grateful for the opportunity to work for Metro Schools, because everything is connected - there is a through line with everything we do that is in the service of students and their families,” she said. “I feel like I’ve had the gift of not only working with amazing teachers, but also amazing students and parents.”

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