Ashley Irvine

team member

Ashley Irvine


I was born and raised in a very small town in Northern Ontario. I graduated University in 2011 from Lakehead University located in Thunder Bay. Like most new graduates, I was unsure of where I would end up or what I wanted to specialize in so I moved back to my small town and I became a substitute teacher. I taught for four years and especially enjoyed the challenge of working with special needs students, especially those with autism. During this time, I became a Summer Literacy Coach, assisting students in grade 1 to 4 learn to read, write, and comprehend. I also took this time to get my part one and two of a three part Special Needs Specialist course. I moved to Calgary in October of 2014, and worked for a private school located and on the weekends I was working part time at a group home for children who have autism. Something was missing with this other school as it is my dream to work with kids who have special needs. I started to look around and in May 2015 I started with the Third Academy as a teacher in E1. This year I am teaching in E2 and could not be more excited.

I became a teacher because I have always seen the best in people. I was always interested in leadership roles. I was in Air Cadets for 7 years, Vice President of my Student Council in high school, and on every committee possible. I started working with Best Buddies program in University and knew immediately that I wanted to work with kids who were slipping between the cracks, the ones who were not being taught to their full potential because they were deemed “un-teachable”. No child is “un-teachable” and I think that is the best thing about Third Academy, we see children’s full potential and achieve success by assisting them to achieve it. Everyone has a story, and everyone has a gift, it broke my heart to see that the kids who were not able to vocalize their needs were so easily swept under the rug, so to speak. My approach to teaching is based on the idea that everyone has something they are amazing at, and it is my job to find the skills my students have and to help them explore different ways of using them. I like to make things cross curricular. I like to keep things fun and active for small children, but still addressing the fact that we all have skills to build. There is not a kid in our school that isn’t great at something we just have to find it. I like to have the kids learn through social interaction, art, music, hands on work, and practicing skills we know while building new ones.

Who am I outside of school? I like to think of myself as someone who is balanced. I spend a lot of my time walking the trails at Fish Creek, Turner Valley, or Bragg Creek. I enjoy colouring and a nice hot mocha from Starbucks. I like to write. I spend most of my time working on short blogs about life or writing short poems. When I was in University I wrote for a small paper the Women’s Center put out every month. I work part time at a home for children who have autism. I love to cook and bake.

Three interesting things to leave off with:

  1. I plan to finish a book before I retire.
  2. I plan to get a Master’s Degree which addresses the Mental Health aspect of teaching.
  3. I’ve never left Canada, but I plan to before I turn 30 next year.