Former Gymnast Mrs. Gillman Brings Can-Do Attitude Into Classroom

Social studies teacher Mrs. Ashley Gillman has a passion for teaching and learning, but she also has a passion for sports and fitness.

She recently just participated in a pushup contest in honor of the veterans that came to Boyertown and completed a total of 301 pushups, tying for the win. She says she did the pushups without much training.

This year I didn’t do as much preparation as the year before,” she said, “so I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to do as many as I did last year.”

An extra push from a visiting veteran motivated her to really push herself to give everything she could in the event, which raising money for a veterans memorial walk.

“The veteran that was assigned to my class came down and was yelling at me to do more, and that motivated me,” she said.

Mrs. Gillman has always been a competitive athlete. She trains for marathons and was a gymnast at West Chester University. She still coaches gymnastics at the YMCA. She also has a husband and three kids.

She grew up in Johnstown and had planned to go back there.

“I just never made it back because I went to West Chester University and ended up staying, and I also had gymnastics there,” she said. 

Her career also turned out differently than she had planned. At West Chester, she majored in history education and planned to go to law school. However,  junior year, she took teaching classes and started to really enjoy them.

“When I got to student teaching, I knew that was where I wanted to be,” she said. “I had no desire to do anything else anymore. This was supposed to be my backup plan, but I just kind of fell in love with it.”

Doing 301 push ups requires a lot of hard work and energy. Mrs. Gillman said she tries to incorporate that energy into her teaching style and her classroom.

“I try to stay pretty positive, and it gives me a better mindset and helps me to keep the energy level up in the classroom.”

In everything she does, she is always trying to improve, she said.

“Even though I’ve been teaching the same subject for over 10 years now, I am always tweaking my lessons and still changing things around to improve my lessons.”

She tries to pass that lesson on to her students.

Do I think that history is important, yes, but do I think that teaching students things that can be adaptable to everyday life is more important, yes.”

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