Manteo Elementary School Teacher of the Year
Ashley Gilreath, MES 2017
Manteo Elementary School fourth grade teacher Ashley Gilreath is the school’s 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year. Walking into her class, it’s easy to see why - students are engaged in their activities, usually moving about purposefully in the classroom. There is a noticeable atmosphere in the classroom, one of comfortable freedom - to learn, make mistakes, laugh, share, and grow.

Her students demonstrate compassion just as Gilreath models it. It’s a good place to be.

“I matter every day, in every way, in all that I do, nothing less than my best” is the recitation each student proclaims in unison at the end of every school day in Gilreath’s class. Officemate, Gifted teacher Helen Corbett notes that “Ashley is a dynamic teacher who helps her students take ownership in their learning - making the process relevant and fun. She uses the Whole Brain Approach in her classroom, she gets students involved with the lessons in more than one modality, ensuring that they are physically and mentally involved with what they are learning.

These and other techniques keep her students on their toes, ready to learn, and make her classroom a fun place to be.

“Ashley teaches her students that kindness and manners matter. This, in turn, gives students pride in their behavior, and when children are sure and confident themselves there is no stopping them!”

Gilreath is in her 12th year of education, her sixth year at Manteo Elementary School. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina and began her career teaching kindergarten in Virginia. She took a four year break to have and rear her young children, from the summer of 2004 to 2012 - while she taught for a time at St. Andrews Preschool. When she resumed her career it was at Manteo Elementary.

In Gilreath’s words, “Working with children is something I always dreamed of, so I followed my lifelong passion to become a teacher,” She credits high school swim coach Doug Fonder as being the major influence in her development. “Coach Fonder built my confidence, and I bought in. With his help, I went on to earn a swimming scholarship at USC, became a four-year Academic All-American, team captain, and long-time relay record holder. Many of my friends did not have a life-changer like me. I never lose sight that my life today could be much different. I never forgot all that Coach Fonder did for me.

“I hope I am my students’ Coach Fonder. I hope I can build my students’ confidence when there may be little, let them know they all matter and teach them that they are capable of more than they think while encouraging hard work and individual accountability. As a teacher, I still strive to make him proud every day.

“One of my greatest joys as a teacher is to have my former students come visit in the morning before school with hugs and daily updates. When they return, I know I have done my job.

Relationships are essential and not always easy. In my opinion, the academic part of teaching is relatively easy; academics grow with healthy relationships.I hope my relationships send the world students that are more confident, kinder, polite, and not afraid to take a risk, lifelong learners and better persons than when they first entered my classroom. “I believe Together Everyone Achieves More - I am a TEAM player!”


At its meeting at Manteo Elementary School on November 7th, the Board of Education recognized Manteo Elementary School's 2017 Teacher of the Year, Ashley Gilreath. She is in her 12th year as an educator; her sixth year at Manteo Elementary School. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina and began her career teaching kindergarten in Virginia. From left, Board Chair Bea Basnight, Gilreath, and Superintendent of Schools John D. Farrelly.