"Ashford allowed me to reach my goals and dreams with a lot of hard work, and I thoroughly believe I got out what I put in."
Anne Kelly lives in Seattle, Washington where she is the director of a not-for-profit preschool and childcare center. She was born in a small town in Wyoming, and her mother passed away before she was a year old. She lived with her grandparents for a while and then with various family members. “I went to six different grade schools, two middle schools, and two high schools,” she explains. After high school, she attended one quarter of college, but then withdrew. “I was not ready for the experience of living on campus and I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career.”
She was married at 21 and became a mother at 22. After the birth of her first son, she realized that her passion was early learning; she became an assistant teacher for Head Start in 1985. She subsequently became a preschool teacher and then a program manager before reaching her current position as director.
Anne explains that her interest in education stems in part from the fact that her mother had a tenth grade education, and her father was illiterate. “I watched my family struggle because of their lack of formal education. I lived in poverty for parts of my childhood as a result of my father’s inability to read or write.”
While working and raising her two sons, Anne became the first in her family to earn a college degree - an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education. When she learned that the accreditation rules for her not-for-profit were changing, she decided it was time to pursue a Bachelor’s degree. “The program I run is a nationally accredited facility (by the National Association for the Education of Young Children), and part of the emerging criteria is that people in leadership positions must have a minimum of a four-year degree, regardless of experience. This was a great motivator for me to go back to school.”
In the fall of 2010, Anne graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management, and she was also inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society. “Ashford allowed me to reach my goals and dreams with a lot of hard work, and I thoroughly believe I got out what I put in. I discovered that I like to write, and that by having my degree I believe in myself more. Having a Bachelor’s degree adds to my credibility as a professional in my field.”