Dr. Ryan Ashley Announced as New Principal of Kennedy Middle School

Staff Report From Aiken CEO

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

For Dr. Ryan Ashley, a decade of service as an assistant principal and teacher at the high school instructional level has only reinforced the importance of high-quality instruction and relationship building at the middle school level, which will be his next educational service destination.  

Dr. Ashley will begin the 2019-20 school year as a new principal in Aiken County Public Schools after Aiken County Board of Education members approved his appointment as the new principal of Kennedy Middle School during the school board’s March 12 regularly scheduled meeting.

Teresa Mitchem, the school’s current leader, has accepted a new position within the District for the 2019-20 school year.

“I am really looking forward to this opportunity,” Dr. Ashley stated Wednesday. “In middle school those are some pretty formative years. They are making a lot of important decisions educationally and socially that will impact them later with the organizational and social skills they will need to be successful in high school and in life.”

Building positive relationships with his students has always been an important part of Dr. Ashley’s educational approach, and he says it will continue to be a focus at Kennedy Middle School.

“Those positive relationships are especially important when it comes to students,” Dr. Ashley commented. “If you are able to develop that trust and they know you support them and care about them by attending their athletic events, robotics matches, chorus and band performances, or whatever they are interested in, that goes a long way toward establishing those relationships and I feel that’s really been a strength of mine during my career.”

Dr. Ashley’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies and Masters in Administration and Supervision from Charleston Southern University, and a degree as an Education Specialist in Educational Leadership from Liberty University. His Doctorate of Educational Leadership also came from Liberty University.

Prior to serving as an assistant principal at Fort Dorchester High School for five years, Ashley served as an assistant principal for three years at Ashley Ridge High School. He began his career in education in 2006 as a social studies teacher at Summerville High School. 

Dr. Ashley is a graduate of the S.C. Department of Education Developing Aspiring Principals Program (DAPP), a member of the S.C. Association of School Administrators (SCASA), and has served previously as the President of the ACT State Council. Additionally, Dr. Ashley is a current member of the Charleston Southern University Board of Trustees, and he serves as President-elect of the Summerville-Oakbrook Rotary Club.

“I look forward to being a part of the community in Aiken as well,” he stated. “I am a member of the Rotary Club here and I plan to continue that in Aiken. I’m also on the board of trustees at Charleston Southern University and hopefully I will be able to connect with USC Aiken and Aiken Technical College.”  

Dr. Ashley says the key for educators is to focus on the opportunities they have today to help shape and form the leaders of tomorrow.

“I look at the many opportunities we have rather than the things that hold us back in education,” he commented. “We have so many opportunities as educators to pave that pathway for the future leaders of our community, which are our students. It all starts right there in our classrooms.”

He will begin his duties as Kennedy Middle School principal in July.