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Ashley Adamson Selected as Rhode Island Teacher of the Year

RIDE Makes Surprise Announcement at Portsmouth’s Hathaway Elementary School


PORTSMOUTH, R.I. – At a surprise ceremony today, the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) announced the selection of Ashley Adamson as the 2021 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year. Adamson is a third-grade teacher at Hathaway Elementary School in Portsmouth. The event was held outside her school, respecting social-distancing guidelines.

“This pandemic has brought out the best in so many Rhode Islanders, but especially our amazing teachers,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Ashley embodies the best of all our educators – she is focused on her kids’ learning and well-being, she is constantly working to improve her teaching, and she gives generously of her time outside the classroom. I’m thrilled that she will be representing our state as the 2021 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year."

“Rhode Island teachers are showing the rest of the country what they can do, and Ashley is a perfect example of dedication, perseverance, and commitment to fun in learning,” said Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “RIDE is focused on finding and supporting World-Class Talent as one of our strategic priorities. Ashley will be an incredible asset to RIDE over the coming school year as we focus on finding new ways to recruit, support, and reward our educators for the amazing work they do.”

A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Adamson has been a teacher for 14 years. She has taught in Portsmouth since 2010, and at Hathaway since 2015. Among other leadership activities, she has served as an instructor for the RICAS Ramp Up Program, a pilot teacher for new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum, a presenter on social and emotional learning for fellow teachers, a robotics coach, and a coach for middle school softball, soccer and basketball teams. In addition to serving as the 2019 Portsmouth Teacher of the Year, she earned an Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Learning (ECET) Award in 2018 and received Carter Spark Grants in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

“Mrs. Adamson is without a doubt an outstanding teacher,” wrote her principal, Lisa Little, in her nomination letter. “Whether interacting with students, communicating with parents, sharing with colleagues, leading or attending professional development activities, she excels at her job. Her knowledge of children and how they learn and her genuine love of teaching are extraordinary.”

In a recent article about one of her students in a local newspaper, the student – an immigrant from Central America who excelled in Adamson’s classroom – said she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. “She wants to help children like her,” the article noted, “the way Adamson has helped her.”

Parents praise Adamson’s efforts inside and outside the classroom. One wrote, “Ashley spends considerable time beyond the school day and school year perfecting her craft. Although my children have moved on to the middle school, I see on social media as she accomplishes professional conferences and dresses up to make learning in her room fun. I also find her at ballfields to watch her current students as they showcase talents beyond the classroom. She simply does it all!”

As Teacher of the Year, Adamson will work with RIDE throughout the 2020-2021 school year to support education statewide, including a special focus on educator recognition initiatives. She is also eligible to represent Rhode Island as the National Teacher of the Year.