Local teacher named State Young Educator of the Year

Published 12:10 am Monday, May 15, 2017

By Rebecca Rider

SPENCER — Fifth-grade North Rowan Elementary School teacher Ashely Holshouser was recently named the Jaycees State Young Educator of the Year.

“It was kind of a surprise,” Holshouser said.

Holshouser joined North Rowan’s staff in January 2014 and teaches an AIG model classroom. She was nominated on a local level by her principal, Katherine Bryant.

She cleared the local and district qualifiers with flying colors, and in early May was awarded the state honor. She said she was surprised and shocked by the honor. But for Holshouser, it’s all about her students.

“I think of it as my kids’ accomplishments. So I’m kind of shedding light on what they’ve done to amaze me,” she said.

With the state award came a list of questions for Holshouser to answer about her teaching style. So she turned to the experts on the matter — her students. Holshouser asked her them if they thought she was a good teacher and what they thought her strengths were. It was, she said, something she’d never thought about herself.

Their responses touched her — the students said that she was good at connecting with them, and that they knew she cared about them.

Holshouser said that’s part of a lesson she learned from her mother: always end interactions on a positive note.

“So I try to do that for my kids, because you never know what’s going to happen when they leave my room,” she said.

When she’s running her lessons, Holshouser likes to focus on her students’ work. Her class uses a lot of problem-based learning as an educational focus. Students independently research, run projects and present ideas to help cement key concepts.

“It’s more than just an assignment. It’s something connected to the real world so that they can use it later,” she said.

Her goal is that she wants students to remember her class — she wants them to remember key things they learned beyond whether or not they liked her as a teacher.

She said she believes that the award will push her, her students and her school, forward.

“I love our North family and I love our kids, and I look forward to seeing where this takes our staff and our kids. This is something positive for our school as a whole,” she said.

But the main stars of the show, she holds, are her students.

“When you do this work and you care about them, it’s for them, it’s about them, it’s not about you,” she said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.