We’re celebrating an important milestone for our Gateway Impact initiative this fall: after three years of building up our network for teacher professional development, we’ve been able to welcome our first Director of Gateway Impact, Ashli Watts! With the introduction of our first leader able to focus on Impact full-time, we can expect lots of exciting new developments and growth in the months and years to come as we further our commitment to improving public education for students everywhere.
Ashli comes to Gateway from Chicago, where she has worked with schools, young people and educators in just about every capacity imaginable: from starting as a school truancy officer – which she successfully rebranded as a “school completion mentor” to build more positive relationships with students and families – to managing cohorts of college students in the prestigious POSSE scholarship program, to directing teacher support and professional development through OneGoal Chicago.
“I've always been one to volunteer and get actively engaged with my community since I was very young, and I’ve found schools to be the perfect venue for leveraging and sharing resources and tools,” she said. “You can make big things happen when you start with schools.”
In addition to putting on Gateway Impact’s annual Powerful Learners Conference for educators from across the state each year, Ashli will be overseeing some exciting new opportunities for Bay Area teachers:
- Communities of Practice for educators committed to collaborating long-term toward improving their craft on a certain focus area, such as equitable classroom practices.
- Teaching Fellowships for educators to visit Gateway for several days of classroom observation, coaching, and reflection.
- The launch of our Teacher Induction program, which in the near future will welcome new teachers from throughout the Bay Area for coaching and guidance throughout their first two years in the classroom.
“It’s great to be working somewhere that is actively seeking to design, co-create and implement solutions for our teachers as they work to educate our future,” said Ashli.
Long term, Ashli has big dreams for Gateway Impact, envisioning robust partnerships with community organizations and government agencies not only locally, but nationwide or even globally, to address educator growth and well-being holistically and improve student experiences and outcomes.
“I think Gateway Impact could be a real powerhouse,” she said. “We have so many solutions that we know are possible for public schools, it’s just a matter of building the right partnerships to turn those dreams into reality.”