KENNESAW, Ga. | Jun 30, 2022
Kennesaw State University alumna Ashley Beasley says the virtual option is meeting the needs of some learners, and as director of elementary school virtual programs, she will help Cobb County teachers be ready to meet those needs and lead digital learning.
Beasley is a four-time graduate of KSU’s Bagwell College of Education, and recently assumed responsibility for online learning for elementary students in the Cobb County School District. She holds an early childhood education bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in leadership, as well as a specialist and doctorate in instructional technology – all from Kennesaw State.
The skills she learned in her programs at Kennesaw State are more important now than they’ve ever been, and they prepared her for the acceleration of technology use in the classroom, Beasley said.
“My degrees from KSU really put me in a spot to be a good candidate for this position,” she said. “Everything in education continually changes, so we must adapt. The increased use of technology in the classroom is not going away, and we are helping teachers figure out ways to make that work in their setting, whether they’re in a face-to-face classroom or virtual.”
Beasley said families choose virtual school for a variety of reasons, from a child’s severe illness to social anxiety or even the convenience. The coronavirus pandemic opened the door to virtual programs when it forced schools to shift temporarily to an all-online format in March 2020, and Cobb Schools has recognized parents will continue to seek the option, she said.
No two days are the same, but this year - the program’s first - was spent organizing schedules and curriculum to ensure online students received a comparable education to students in face-to-face settings, Beasley said. She traveled frequently to the 39 locations where Cobb teachers were instructing virtual students, helped to troubleshoot issues that might arise teaching elementary students from a screen and planned to address problems that hadn’t yet come up, or that could be addressed in teacher training.
The new virtual program enrolled more than 700 students in the 2021-22 school year, and there is still a need for the virtual option in the upcoming school year. In the fall, online program teachers will also be consolidated to three buildings.
“Ashley is a wonderful example of the caliber of Bagwell College alumni. Her expertise in the instructional technology discipline was enhanced by her experiences within Kennesaw State, and our programs were enhanced by her presence as well,” said Adrian Epps, dean of the Bagwell College. “We celebrate her appointment to lead within the organizational structures of Cobb County School District, a very important partner for the Bagwell College and Kennesaw State University.”
Traci Redish, Bagwell’s interim associate dean for strategic partnerships and priorities, said Beasley will be an important leader in the Cobb County School District, as the pandemic has highlighted the ongoing need for instructional technology knowledge and skills for all educators.
“The ability to deliver instruction in all modalities – face-to-face, blended and online – has become, and will continue to be, mission critical for K-12 schools moving forward,” Redish said. “Dr. Beasley’s expertise in Instructional Technology will be vitally important as she leads her team to accelerate digital learning in Cobb.”
– By Thomas Hartwell
Photos by Matt Yung
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.