Exclusive Interview with Ashley Scott
Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Scott.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
As I look back on my journey, over 16 years ago, God provided me with every benchmark to meet my needed milestones. I remember back in college, during my freshman year, I completed a business plan for a daycare. At that time, owning a daycare was a dream of mine. I started my career in educational administration at the state level and then teaching, I reflect and think, wow, how things have come full circle. I wanted a Preschool Academy: Oxford Learning Academy. As I began starting the process of my new business, I remember my Pastor speaking to me one Sunday. He said, “God has given you the airplane and a safe landing. He has given you everything and every person that you need to be successful. He has even given you a parachute. You will not fail.” I remember taking some time off work and going to Canada with my husband and children. I think it is in moments of quietness that I can hear what God is sharing with me. Though I had earned a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership, a Masters in Criminal Justice, a state Florida Educational Leadership (Principal) certification, and several other certificates in my industry, I still needed additional certifications to be a Director in Childcare. I was able to earn every certification that I needed. Our school opened and we took off! Oxford provides me with time and the provision to support other organizations through grant writing, youth development and business consulting.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
Taking the time to do self-work. Self-work is always the hardest. Overcoming any and all fears. Transitioning from being very private to living a somewhat public life.
I come from a family of generational entrepreneurs, running a successful business was always modeled for me. Though I had experience and success with early learners, I still doubted myself.
I launched a Preschool in August 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic. At a time where so many daycares were closing and/or going out of business, people were afraid to be around others, let along wanting their kids to be around others. Teacher recruitment was at an all-time low, supply manufactures had little supply and at any moment you two could have a Covid closure impacting parents significantly.
Even with knowing these challenges, I still took a leap of faith and resigned from my well-paid Leadership position.
Leaving my previous job was not an easy decision to make. It’s easy to leave a job when things are going wrong. For me, I absolutely loved the work and my team brought in millions each year. I enjoyed working to build programs and projects, and oddly enough, I also loved the stress it brought. For sure, our team was a turnaround team, and we had gotten our program where it was successful, had only clean audits, fun, engaging, and supportive for our communities.
I knew that I needed to be fully present on day one for my business to have a solid foundation.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
Every day I wake up with a zeal to impact lives. While living purposefully driven is rewarding, it truly takes sacrifice.
Over the last 5 years I have secured more than $60 million in grant funding for more than a dozen of non-profits and businesses. The grant funding directly supports things like instructional services, hiring teachers, after school tutoring, parent and family engagement, transportation, and innovative programming that directly affected student achievement and the most needed students within Title I Schools and low income communities.
I believe in education and have my own preschool Oxford Learning Academy which brings an innovative, data-driven approach to preschool education. Involving parents, using data to inform teacher instruction, and embedding world culture within its curriculum.
From start to finish, I continue my work with non-profits and businesses to develop initiatives which impacts youth ages birth through 18 years old.
Top 25 Women you Need to Know, UnSung Hero Award, all while continuing to be a well sought out consultant in Grant Writing and business development. I also assists with project implementation and compliance. I hold a bachelors and master’s degree in Criminal Justice with a focus on at risk youth and have a second master’s in educational leadership. I have served as a school district Administrator overseeing $10.8 million annually. Certifications are in K-12 Educational Leadership, K-12 ESE, Pre-K through 3rd Teacher Certification, Reading Endorsement, Pre-K with Disabilities Endorsement, Childcare Director Credential, Staff Credential, VPK Director and VPK Teacher. I am a Children’s Author.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
Dare to be who God created you to be!
Through my experiences and journey to entrepreneurship, I want people to see what is possible when we follow God’s vision. Sometimes others may not understand the calling, we cannot get upset when others don’t understand the vision. It is because the vision was for our eyes only. We must also be obedient to our purpose and trust the inner voice.
Keep going no matter how hard the journey gets, keep one foot in front of the other, keep going.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
When we are working in our purpose, we are able to utilize our gifts to positively impact the lives of others. In turn, others are able to impact others, which affects generations.
For me success is where my purpose and opportunity meet. God provides us with the provision and through that provision, we are able minister to others. Along the way we are able to enjoy life’s most precious gifts time, freedom, options health and wealth.
What’s next for you?
I have so many exciting projects on the horizon I honestly can’t begin to name them all! I am looking forward to releasing my children’s book series, speaking engagements, consulting with others as they jump into the world of non-profit workforce, grant writing, childcare, and entrepreneurship. I enjoy investing in real-estate and also providing homes to families who are on Section 8. I look forward to the launch of our professional development center where individuals can take grant writing and non profit management courses while developing innovative programs to support our youth ages birth through young adult. Even with life being so busy I simply look forward to picking up my little ones from school as much as I can traveling and seeing the world with my little family.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?