Esther Ashton was once a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins.
Hinson Middle School Media Specialist Esther Ashton often repeats this C.S. Lewis quote to her students: "Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching."
It's one piece of wisdom the school's Teacher of the Year tries to share with her students.
Ashton has been teaching for a total of 16 years. She said she doesn't feel like she ever decided she would be come a teacher, but rather, that the profession chose her. Prior to starting her education career in 1999, she had been working at a cabinet company. An employee knew she had a degree in physical education and communication, and informed her his daughter's school needed a PE coach.
"Next thing I knew, I had an interview," Ashton said. "I was selected that same day, and I have never looked back. I knew the first day I was with students that I was exactly where I needed to be.
This year marks her ninth at Hinson; she taught language arts for four years before becoming a media specialist. Prior to arriving at Hinson, she taught at St. Brendan Catholic School and Calvary Christian Academy. She graduated in 1998 from Florida Atlantic University. From 1995-1996, Ashton was also a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins.
Ashton runs programs including Reading Counts, book fairs, spelling bees and Battle of the Books at Hinson. She teaches a middle school media production class and said she lives for the "light bulb" moments.
"When a student suddenly shouts out, 'I get it!' after moments of confusion, I am truly overjoyed," Ashton said. "Knowing that I was a contributing factor in helping a student understand a concept is my favorite aspect of teaching. "
Ashton said she is honored and excited to represent Hinson as its Teacher of the Year.
"I know I am appreciated and supported by the staff and administration at my school and so lucky to work with such a fabulous team of educators," she said.