When Ashlee Rollison’s friends come across a bug or spider in their rooms she knows their initial instinct is to kill it.
Rollison, however, takes a different approach – she prefers to capture the little critter and release it back into its habitat, something that reflects her love for all living things.
Rollison, 34, is the STEAM instructor at Joseph R. Pye Elementary, and this is the first year the school has had a STEAM initiative.
The acronym stands for Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics.
For the first three quarters of the school year Rollison taught STEAM to second through fifth graders, and then kindergarten through second graders in the last quarter – and she has greatly enjoyed teaching the course.
Rollison has been teaching a total of 11 years, and this is her eighth year in the district. At Pye Elementary she formerly taught third grade math, science and social studies. She previously worked at Spann Elementary before she followed Spann’s former principal Wanda Williams to Pye Elementary.
As a college student Rollison initially went into Radford University in Virginia thinking she was going to major in communications. After her freshman year of college she took a job as a swimming instructor at a 4H camp and fell in love with teaching kids.
“As soon as I worked with the kids I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said. “I liked that ‘aha’ moment and I wanted to get that every day.”
Rollison went on to study elementary education with a concentration in English and special education. However, she has always loved math and science – which is why she likes being the STEAM instructor.
“I love this position because that’s what I get to do all day,” she said.
Rollison also has her masters in education through Southern Wesleyan University. After finishing school she moved from Richmond, Va. to South Carolina – wanting to be near the beach and away from snow.
Since becoming a teacher Rollison said she has never had any particular bad experiences but her favorite experience has been becoming the STEAM instructor.
“I’ve loved teaching this year,” she said. “I was able to still teach children but still work with the teachers. It’s been a real enriching experience.”
In STEAM Rollison tries to empower her students to be creative and critical thinkers – skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
“We’re making a big impact on all my students,” she said.
Outside the classroom Rollison has stayed active being a part of the Administrators Instructional Leadership Team and the Sunshine Committee. On the STEAM committee she has planned events for her students such as getting business leaders to come and talk to students. She has also served as a Robotics coach, along with kindergarten teacher Starlynn Atkins.
Rollison’s professional goal is to continue learning so she can give her students the skills they need to be successful.
“I want to know what my students need to be productive citizens when they grow up,” she said.
Outside of school Rollison is an active married mother of two. She has been married to her husband Chris for nine years and together they have their daughter Addie, who is 6 and just finished kindergarten at Pye Elementary, and their 4-year-old son Ridge. The family also has an 11-year-old black lab named Cooper – who is 100 pounds and thinks he is a lap dog, according to Rollison.
Rollison is an avid reader and does many things with her family. They love to go camping, hang out on their boat, hike and enjoy being outside. Rollison loves the beach and animals, and has done service projects with the school for the Summerville SPCA.
“We participate in many things here but that’s one that is near and dear to my heart,” she said.
Rollison’s life goal is to be the best person she can be, and be respectful of all living things and give back to the community.
“I want to be a blessing to someone else – which is one of the reasons why I became a teacher,” she said.