Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Ashley Williams earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia and Master’s Degree in Special Education at Hunter College. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Education, with a focus in Leadership and Learning in Organizations, at Vanderbilt University.
Ashley was a classroom teacher for nearly a decade. She started her career in education as one of the founding staff members at Coney Island Prep, one of the first charter schools in South Brooklyn. There, she was a 5th grade special education math teacher. During that time she also designed a remedial math curriculum for students who were struggling to meet grade level expectations. Ashley was instrumental in shaping the school’s grade retention process, and later assumed the role of Dean of Student Supports where she was charged with overseeing the special education program. While at Coney Island Prep, Ashley also spent a summer as one of Teach For America’s School Directors. In that role, she served as a summer principal and led a team that trained and developed new educators in preparation for their first full year of teaching.
Wanting to diversify her teaching pedagogy and experience, Ashley went on to teach 1st and 2nd grades at KIPP Infinity in Harlem and the Chapin School on the Upper East Side. Ashley’s passion for helping marginalized communities influenced her decision to return to Coney Island Prep as the Director of Family and Community Engagement. The organization had since grown to serve over 1,000 students in grades K-12 across 3 campuses. As the Director of Family and Community Engagement, Ashley was responsible for working closely with school leaders to ensure families felt connected to their child’s educational experience and the greater Coney Island community. She created the organization’s vision for family engagement as well as developed the yearlong priorities and metrics, and supported Principals and Directors of Operations in creating systems and initiatives to fulfill the set goals. Ashley also oversaw student enrollment, and led the initiative to adopt an online enrollment system. She helped refine the organization’s enrollment expectations, timeline, and processes. Dedicated to promoting racial equity within schools, Ashley was also a part of the team that planned and facilitated quarterly staff trainings on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
In her free time, Ashley loves to travel, spend time with her family and friends, and read. She is excited to join BKS as the Deputy Director of Family and Community Engagement so that she can continue the work of empowering families and communities.