Director of Education and Community Engagement, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (Santa Rosa, CA)
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Education, UNC Charlotte (2011)
Hometown: Toms River, NJ; Pinehurst, NC
After receiving her theatre education degree from UNC Charlotte in 2011, Ashley Worley remained in North Carolina for four years, teaching theatre in public school to students in grades 6-12. During that time, she was recognized at the North Carolina Theatre Conference High School Play Festival for "Excellence in Direction" and "Excellence in Ensemble" and received a Distinguished Production Award. Her education at UNC Charlotte gave her the broad skill set she needed to create strong productions for her students.
"The hands-on opportunities were the most valuable to me. From directing, lighting, stage managing, and teaching, I learned the most when I was able to put the knowledge shared to use."
While in North Carolina, Asheigh was tapped to design curriculum for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as a member of the Governor's Teacher Network. Leaving teaching in 2015 to move to California, she became the Director of Education at Marin Theatre Company, a LORT-D theatre in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she continued that curricular investigation, working with schools and community organizations to use arts integration and techniques to teach the arts.
"I lean most heavily into the work I did in my classes focusing on childhood development and child psychology. Using my knowledge of cognitive growth in young people I am able to guide my staff to optimize our programming for each age group," she says. "I've been really excited to share my work with parents and administrators about what arts integration can do for students. I've recently provided training through the Marin County Office of Education and through the California Educational Theatre Association for community members and teachers on how to implement the arts in core subjects."
Her new role at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts will build on that expertise. The performing arts center serves 40,000 K-12 students a year across five counties, through student shows, residencies, and community events.
Ashleigh appreciates the individual attention and flexibility that the theatre program at UNC Charlotte provided her. "The theatre education major group is a small, close-knit one," she says. "The neat thing about how the program is laid out is you're really able to tailor it to what you need to grow as a professional."