A. Sanchez

School districts across the country are encountering teacher shortages, and thus hiring strong substitute teachers is vital for our students. CUSD #205 appreciates all the current substitute teachers that are making commitments to fill in for absences and teaching vacancies throughout our district.

One new measure District #205 is using this year to ease this burden involves placing a long-term substitute teacher for use in any position available in a specific building.  In doing this, the guest teacher is able to better integrate into the school community and focus on forming strong relationships with the students he or she serves.  According to Mindi Ritchie, District #205’s Director of Student & Staff Supports, Ashley Sanchez was recently transferred to this position at Galesburg Junior Senior High School.

Ashley’s name may be familiar to you, as she is not a new employee in our District.  Ashley started in CUSD #205 in 2020 at Lombard Middle School as the In-School Suspension Program (ISSP) Supervisor. Ashley shares that beginning from that point, she began building relationships with the students while at Lombard, and has continued these relationships as our current 9th-grade students are many of the students she worked with while at Lombard. Following the pandemic, Ashley continued her work in the District as a Security Staff member at Galesburg Junior Senior High School. 

Ashley’s gift for building relationships with students is exactly why Mindi Ritchie worked to create a role for Ashley as a long-term substitute teacher.  When asked about how this came to fruition, Mindi shared, “I heard of Ashley’s impact on our students long before I met her.  She’s a person that has consistently strived to serve our students in the best way possible-through getting to know them and being there for them.  When I learned that Ashley was considering a new career outside of District #205, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak to Ashley about pursuing a permanent role as a long-term substitute teacher at GJSHS”.  

Ashley is given her assignments weekly at GJSHS and fills in for staffing emergencies that arise daily. Ashley’s time in classrooms is a benefit to all students, as she feels that when students enter a classroom and see a familiar face they are put at ease.

When asked about her new role, Ashley stated, “I like being here. I believe there is a niche for me here, as I have built relationships from being in the school district, as well as from being a martial arts teacher in the community for many years. I am glad I can still play a big role in helping the school district .” 

Ashley also enjoys learning along with the students and is having fun while continuing her education in each classroom. Ashley said, “You need to bring a level of trust to the classroom; students need to believe that they are safe and it is nice that I can provide that to them.”

According to Mindi, “In a short time, Ashley has demonstrated to me the benefit of having a dedicated long-term substitute teacher at one school.  I look forward to opportunities to further grow Human Resources in the District to ensure the best experiences possible for our students and our educators”.