Ashley Bland named 2021 RPS Teacher of the Year

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 6:31 PM EDT

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and to celebrate, several school systems in the area announced their “Teacher of the Year.”

In Richmond, Superintendent Jason Kamras, Mayor Levar Stoney, and school board representatives surprised Ashley Bland, from John B Cary Elementary School, with this year’s 2021 Teacher of the Year title!

“I was expecting to come here to do one thing, which was to take pictures, but this whole event is to celebrate Teacher of the Year, so I’m feeling a little overwhelmed but definitely overjoyed,” said the Instructional Technology Resource Teacher.

Bland began her career in 2014 at RPS as a substitute teacher and went full-time after completing the Richmond Teacher Residency program. She currently serves as an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for John B. Cary Elementary School.

“It’s been a great experience because I’ve got to work with both students and teachers to make sure they know best technology practices,” said Bland.

Bland is known for going the extra mile for her students, but she never expected her teaching would touch so many.

“She goes beyond the call of duty to make a difference in the lives of children,” said John B Cary Elementary Principal Michael Powell.

“Kids will climb the highest mountain for you when they know you love them, and that’s what Ashley shows every day,” said Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras.

Nothing but positive remarks for Bland, and with all of the challenges teachers and support staff have faced during the pandemic, this year’s appreciation week takes on even greater meaning.

“This is an honor like no other because your colleagues vote for you, and they think you’re the best of the best, so I’m extremely honored,” said Bland.

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