“Going above-and-beyond the call of duty” is Lynda Ashley’s middle name. She is a phenomenally M.E.A.N. third grade teacher at Castaic Elementary School. I must define the meaning of M.E.A.N., Making Excellence A Necessity and M.E.A.N. is her motto.
Mrs. Ashley is amazing. Of course she excels at teaching the standard curriculum, but she adds so much more to her class. For example, her class of eight year olds read an intriguing novel entitled A Kid Who Ran For President. As the character in the book went through the democratic process of running for President of the United States, each student in her class did the same in running for Class President.
They had to create catchy slogans and posters, actively campaign, write speeches and all of the other aspects involved in an election. They concluded with voting for their Class President in an actual voting booth.
Acceptance speeches topped off the excitement. What a wonderful, interactive way to introduce kids to the democratic process we have in the United States that will carry with them to their adult lives. This is just one example of the types of activities she does throughout the year.
Just ask any of her former students about the Iditaroid Race held annually in Alaska. Thanks to Mrs. Ashley, Castaic Elementary School was fortunate to have been chosen as a recipient of a Friendship Doll from Japan named Sumerai. The friendship doll program began back in 1927 when Dr. Sidney Gulick initiated the program to promote peace between the United States and Japan. Mrs. Ashley and three of her students attended a formal ceremony in Spokane, Washington at the Japanese Cultural Center to accept the doll. Sumerai currently resides in the school library for everyone to enjoy.
Poetry is another area that Mrs. Ashley brings out of her students. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, her students bring home as a gift to their families, beautiful poems they have written. Every year Mrs. Ashley has students who have written poems that are chosen to be published in the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans. This year, twelve of her students have been chosen for this honor. Last year, a couple of Mrs. Ashley’s students actually won top prizes for their poetry in Santa Clarita at the Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival.
This year has been especially exciting as two of her students are finalists in the Coldwell Banker American Dream Home Contest. This was a nationwide contest with more than 2000 entries and out of ten finalists in their age group, Mrs. Ashley has two of the students. She is passionate about her kids and the results are amazing. After-school there is always a line outside her door of former students who just want to say “hi” and she always has time for a hug. Just step into her classroom and you can feel the magic!
Thank you for the opportunity to nominate Mrs. Ashley.
Lexi and Annika Bergstrom (Students)
Gretchen Bergstrom (Mom)
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