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Ashley Inman '01 | On The Front Lines of Education Reform

Healdsburg High School '05
Boston University '09 - Bachelor of Arts, Political Science
AEIC Consulting
Ashley Inman launched herself as a communications consultant in Washington, DC in June, bolstered by a full-time client and thrilled to dedicate her passion for public policy and expertise in website and social media communications to the important national policy issue of education reform.

In the short time she’s been out of college, Ashley has built a great resume by holding positions with Education Next, a quarterly online journal that keeps offices at Harvard and Stanford, which covers education reform and the Brookings Institution, one of DC’s oldest think tanks. However, the idea of having her own business has been in the back of her mind, and now that Education Next has become her company’s full-time client, Ashley is poised for the next phase of her career.
As a college political science major, Ashley has long been drawn to public policy and has found communications work to be an excellent avenue for following that passion. “I love reading, talking, and promoting thinking about public policy. I’m interested in sharing information about the topic, finding out what people are thinking, and working with people who have different opinions than mine. I believe people should question policy and know their options.”

“With regard to education reform, I plan to promote knowledge and discussion about reform and share all the great work being done in this area,” she said. “I will support collaboration between parents, educators, and government and also share education policies from other countries that might have application in the U.S.”

Ashley will also draw on her educational path to resource her perspective. Before arriving at SCDS as a sixth grader, she lived in England and attended a private religious school with small classes taught by one teacher. Her initial challenge at SCDS was, in fact, adjusting to how busy the school day was with students organized into sections and reporting to different teachers. After graduating from SCDS, she attended Healdsburg High School, designated a rural high school by the Department of Education, and then the mega-urban Boston University.

“My U.S. friends all have dramatically different educational experiences from me and each other, which has resulted in my fascination with how the American educational system varies from state to state, district to district, and even school to school,” she commented. She also noted that with the focus on academic considerations, arts education has been diminished, which she finds disheartening when she considers the importance of her music and drama classes at SCDS.
Ashley played clarinet at SCDS (and throughout high school and for the Santa Rosa Youth Symphony), picked up the guitar under music teacher Jonathan Taylor’s tutelage, and acted in Arsenic and Old Lace and Hamlet under the direction of Ed Herson and LeeAnne Wentz.
“I would not be the chatty communications person I am today without the training I received at SCDS,” she said.  “My experiences as a musician and performer at SCDS helped me to be a confident public speaker and have influenced and shaped me as an adult. I’m willing to project my voice, and express my opinion in public and in other situations. Even today, I can recite Hamlet’s speech about Ophelia’s suicide, which Mr. Herson used for a lesson about projecting your voice, from memory.”
Ashley also credits the music department faculty for their obvious love of their subject. “They loved music, music education, and really cared about playing music well. They also understood my intensity about the clarinet and were supportive, knowledgeable, and made me laugh!”
We can all be hopeful knowing that an SCDS alumna with such appreciation for arts education is on the front lines of education reform. 

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The premier, fully accredited, independent TK-8 college preparatory school in Sonoma County. Located in northern Santa Rosa and proud home of The Jackson Theater, SCDS offers a challenging academic program rich in fine and performing arts, music, world languages, and social and emotional learning. For more than thirty years SCDS has been the school that brings learning to life.