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Rio Grande Valley

Rio Grande Valley Teach For America Alumna Allison Ashley Named Texas Teacher Of The Year

Educator Recognized For Commitment to Dual-language Learners

AUSTIN, Texas, October 18, 2016—Teach For America alumni Allison “Ali” Ashley has been named Texas Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made on Friday at a luncheon hosted by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) honoring teachers from across the state that had been named Teacher of the Year in their school and district. Ashley is a third-grade dual-language teacher in the Austin Independent School District.

After graduating from Boston College, Ashley’s work in education began as a 2004 Teach For America corps member in the Rio Grande Valley where she taught at Sharp Elementary School in Brownsville. From that role, she continued to work in the field teaching bilingual education in Austin.  Ashley moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to pursue a master’s degree in education from Harvard University but returned to Texas for a dual language teaching position in AISD. Ashley currently teaches at South Austin’s Becker Elementary School, working with dual-language learners.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunities our dual-language program is providing for our students,” shared Ashley upon accepting the award.  “We are building up confidence in their linguistic skills, but also learning about working across a number of lines of difference – socioeconomic, linguistic and cultural. The program is helping them build a pride in self-identity and embrace the beautiful diversity we have in our communities.”

Ashley remains active in the Teach For America network as an alumna. Ashley has spent nine summers on staff at Teach For America’s summer institute, where new corps member receive pre-service training. She has served as a corps member advisor, school director, corps member advisory coordinator, and instructional program coordinator.

“My time working as a teacher in the Rio Grande Valley through Teach For America helped illuminate the immense potential and promise in all our bilingual learners. It also helped deepen my conviction of what is possible in education and ways to address some of the issues present in our educational system,” she shared. “I consider those years in the Valley to be pivotal in my decision to commit to this field.”

Texas Teacher of the Year is the highest honor the State of Texas can bestow upon a teacher. According to the TASA website, “Every fall, 40 Regional Teachers of the Year are selected — one elementary and one secondary teacher from each of the 20 Education Service Center regions in Texas. Six finalists are then chosen from among the 40 semifinalists. Following an interview process, the Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year and Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year are chosen.”  One of these teachers will be selected to represent Texas at the 2017 National Teacher of the Year program.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with urban and rural communities in more than 50 regions across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today Teach For America is a force of nearly 60,000 alumni and corps members committed to profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they’re reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, to grow, to influence, and to lead. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Mika Rao


Teach For America