Graduate Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Clemmons, ’12

For alumna Ashley Clemmons, teaching is more than just her profession; it’s her passion.

Clemmons, a fourth and fifth grade math teacher for the last 13 years, graduated from the University of Charleston, S.C. in 2012 with her M.Ed in Teaching, Learning, and Advocacy (MTLA). This M.Ed program provides advanced study for certified P-21 teachers who are interested in becoming educational leaders and advocates for students, public schools, and the teaching profession. The program focuses in on improving educational practices, policies, and learning environments for students, especially those affected by poverty.

“When we, as teachers, are confident and passionate,” Clemmons explains. “Our students have a greater chance of success.”

With ten years of experience in intervention with struggling students, Clemmons found that the MTLA program was a perfect fit. She’s gained a more in-depth understanding of the children she sees in her classroom every day. By seeing these students and their families through the advocacy lens, Clemmons found it easier to motivate her students to succeed.

The MTLA program offers educators the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills in one of four concentration areas during their tenure in the program: Curriculum and Instruction, Diverse Learners, New Literacies, or Science and Mathematics. Students also develop research and advocacy skills, learn policy analysis techniques, utilize self-reflection, and undergo an application of theory to practice through a capstone project.

Through the program, Clemmons completed capstone research about teacher attrition, which gave her greater understanding of the needs of her colleagues. Her experience in the MTLA program has helped Clemmons learn to advocate for herself and the profession while building a greater level of confidence as an educator.

Recently, Clemmons was nominated for a local Mathematics Teaching Award within the Charleston community. She credits her experience as a graduate student at UCSC as a contributing factor towards her success.

“The MTLA program renewed my fire and passion for learning and teaching,” Clemmons says. “I’m so appreciative of the diverse and stimulating coursework and could not have asked for a better graduate program.”

To learn more about the MTLA program, visit

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