Teaching has been Mary Lynn Ashby’s passion for as long as she can remember.
After starting kindergarten with Mrs. Singer, Ashby said “I always played school from day one. It’s always been my dream.”
She tried pursuing a different path, studying accounting for a brief time in college but “it just wasn’t me,” she said.
While Ashby’s only been teaching at Ten Oaks Middle School for the three years it has been open, her teaching career spans more than 30 years.
“I never thought about leaving [the profession],” she said. “I love going to work every day. It’s my passion. It really is.”
Ashby, a Pennsylvania native, began her teaching career in her home state. She then taught in New Jersey for a decade before leaving the snow shovels behind and taking the 12 hour drive to Myrtle Beach with her two boys.
“We’ve been here ever since,” she said.
Ashby’s family is very supportive of her career.
“My mother is the strongest person I know. She’s an incredible role model,” she said. “And I have two adult sons and two incredible granddaughters who were born with sass.”
At Ten Oaks Middle School, Ashby teaches 8th grade social studies, including three honors classes.
“They are so bright and so eager to learn,” she said of her students.
Ashby strives to treat each student as if they were her own children.
“They’re always your kids,” she said. “We all work together.
Ashby advises the school’s Beta Club and teaches a research class associated with National History Day, an annual project-based contest for students in grades 6-12. Ashby gave up one of her planning periods to teach the class.
This year’s theme is “Breaking Barriers,” and each student at Ten Oaks is relating their project to South Carolina history.
“We take them to the archives and the state library,” Ashby said.”
She plans on using her $50 Teacher of the Month prize to help support her National History Day students with their projects.
Ashby does several fundraisers throughout the year to support the program, including making buttons with the school football players’ faces on them and selling them at games. She’s also taught “make it and take it” wreath classes with the PTO.
Ashby said the team she works with makes each day great.
“It’s a daily reward. The administrators, my colleagues and my students are absolutely amazing. I learn things daily from teachers,” she said. “Mr. Prince has got to be the most positive principal I’ve ever worked for.”
That positivity is reflected school-wide.
“We start our meetings with celebrations. We always build on the positive,” she said.
Ashby feels honored to receive recognition from Sparks Toyota and the community.
“It’s been a really good week,” she said, holding back tears. “To be recognized for doing something that’s in your heart makes you humble.”
Teacher of the Month is sponsored by Sparks Toyota. Nominate your favorite teachers online at myhorrynews.com/contests.