Worth the Wait

Lauren Kirschman -

The job hunt tested her patience, but Ashely Blair '14 is finally making strides in a career she loves.

Ashley Blair '14

Ashley Blair sometimes wondered if she was on the right path in the years after she graduated Carlow. 

Blair graduated in 2014 with a degree in early childhood education, but worked as a substitute teacher for years before landing a full-time kindergarten teaching position at Propel Schools’ Hazelwood location in October 2017. 

During the years she was searching for a job, encouraging words from her Carlow professors stayed with her. 

“They instill in you a love of education,” Blair said. “You get moments where you’re thinking, ‘Is this what I want to do? This is so hard.’ But they instilled in me, ‘You’re good at this. This is what you’re going to do.’ They gave me the patience to wait it out and eventually it did work out.” 

Now working at Propel Schools — a not-for-profit federation of charter schools dedicated to providing high-performance education options in underserved communities — Blair is a teacher in the mold of the professors she admired at Carlow. 

A self-described “kid at heart,” Blair loves the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of her young students. She also gained a passion for community service while studying at Carlow, and she’s carried that into her career. 

Propels’ goal, Blair said, is to offer a private school experience that is “essentially free” to lower-income communities. 

She shapes her classroom’s experience with several field trips, including a visit to Carlow where the university set up stations for the students to visit. Blair also had her brother film a video of the kids to play at kindergarten graduation. 

“I know how good I felt when I knew my teachers cared,” Blair said. “To be able to do that, it’s really special.” 

Much like her Carlow professors, Blair said the service she gives her students is fueled by passion. 

“Not everyone wants to get up and go to work everyday,” she said, “but I think of them and it gives me that push.”

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