2021 Winner – Ashley Hurley
Ashley admitted that initially she thought the email she received was a phishing scam. After she continued to read on, she noticed she was entered by a former student. She realized it was true. She yelled out loud in her classroom! She is still in disbelief and a little bit of shock. Ashley said that she “is honored and so thankful for the opportunity to add materials to enrich her classroom and teaching.”
Ashley Hurley is a lifelong resident of Enfield, CT and a proud product of the Enfield Public School district. She graduated from Bay Path College with a degree in elementary education and went on to obtain her graduate degrees in special education and administration at American International College. Ashley joined the Enfield school district upon her graduation from Bay Path as an elementary school teacher. As her education evolved, so did her teaching career. In her role today at Enfield High School, Ashley is a Special Education teacher. She has been with the district for sixteen years. Ashley is passionate about the work that she does each day. She said that nothing brings her greater joy than watching a student cross the stage at graduation with a diploma in hand and a smile from ear to ear. “It brings the process full circle – teaching is a partnership. To some degree it’s like a team sport. You can’t achieve success on your own, you have to do it together.” Ashley and her husband Jamie live in Enfield with their two sons, Jacob and Thomas.
2020 Winner – Melanie O’Connor
I am so grateful that my classroom was chosen for this award. I love my job and I love my children. I’m using this money to provide flexible seating options for my students. Flexible seating will allow my children to sit comfortably and will provide options for movement so they will have an easier time attending to lessons or completing work.
I graduated high school in the same town where I currently teach. I think it is so special that I get to work in the town that I grew up in. I got my undergraduate degree from WNEC (Western New England College, now University of Western New England) and my masters degree from Cambridge College. I’ve been teaching since 2002. I have taught kindergarten and first grade, and now I’m in fifth grade. I plan to never leave this grade level. I love it and believe this is where I’m meant to be.