Welcome to Fourth Grade
Ms. Katie Avila
I am originally from Long Island New York and decided to move to Virginia to pursue my dream to be a teacher. I got my undergrad in Elementary Education at York College of Pennsylvania and furthered my education with a masters degree in reading from Queens College. One of my all time favorite books is Thank You, Mr. Falker because it reminds me of so many of my teachers that helped me when I was in school. When I’m not teaching I enjoy spending time with friends and family, exercising, traveling and listening to live music. Working at Ashlawn has truly been a dream come true for me. The staff, the parents and the community are so supportive and have become my second family. I am truly thankful to be a part of the Ashlawn staff.
Ms. Kim Klaus
I’m thrilled to be a part of the Ashlawn community and the 4th grade team. Before I entered the teaching world, I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and attended the University of Mary Washington. After college, I followed my love of history and became a park ranger, where I ran outdoor children’s programs at Civil War battlefields. My love of working with children led me back to school to get my teaching degree. I have a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason and a Master’s in Reading Instruction from the University of Virginia. I previously worked at Claremont Immersion Elementary for 15 years, where I taught 1st grade and 4th grade and was most recently a part of the reading team. My favorite picture book is Pink and Say, a book that makes me cry every time I read it. When not at school, I love spending time with my wonderful husband, two sweet sons, and our new dog Cindy Lou.
Ms. Hannah Magnolia
The best part about being a teacher is getting to know my students and see them grow academically and socially throughout the year. Witnessing that “a-ha” moment, when a student makes a new connection or grasps a concept they have been working on for a while, makes this job worthwhile. I earned my bachelor’s at The George Washington University and my Master of Education at Marymount University, and I’ve been teaching in Arlington since 2008. I am thrilled to be a part of the Ashlawn fourth grade team again this year!
Ms. Amy Slavin
I am originally from northern California, and I moved east to work on Capitol Hill after college. Soon I entered the teaching profession, just like my mother and grandmother! I became a New York City Teaching Fellow, and then was so lucky to find my next teaching home with APS in 2003. Together with my husband, daughters and a big, shaggy dog, I live in Alexandria. I enjoy reading, gardening, and exploring the area with our family. And I love being part of the Ashlawn community and the 4th grade team!
Ms. Montana Riley
Hi! My name is Montana Riley and this is going to be my 3rd year teaching. I’m originally from Raleigh, North Carolina and I graduated from East Carolina University in 2016. This school year is going to be amazing and I’m so excited to see what this year has in store! One of my favorite parts about teaching at Ashlawn is the incredibly supportive community here and how welcoming everyone is. Ashlawn is an amazing place to teach and I feel so lucky to be surround by such supportive staff, parents, and students. Some of my favorite things include Target, Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, school supplies, and cats! One of my favorite hobbies is reading and I am always looking for a new book to read. Some of my favorite books include Henry’s Freedom Box, Wonder, Say Something, and Each Kindness.
Ms. Maria White
After growing up in DC, I attended Denison University where I majored in Political Science and minored in French. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years teaching English in Cameroon and, shortly thereafter, I earned my Master’s degree in Education from Boston College. From there I taught second grade French Immersion for six years in Massachusetts as well as third grade in Amman Jordan. In 2008 I moved back to the DC area and began teaching at APS and in 2014 I joined the Ashlawn team. As a child, my favorite author was Shel Silverstein and I adored his books The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends. My favorite part of teaching at Ashlawn is its commitment to community service and the GCP program. Also, I truly enjoy being able to foster a love of reading and writing each day while using books to promote the ideas of tolerance and acceptance in our classroom and school. When I am not teaching, I enjoy cycling, reading and spending time with my husband and two kids. I’m looking forward to another wonderful year at Ashlawn!
Ms. Margaret Bleicher
I graduated from Vanderbilt University where I studied both elementary and special education, and since then I have taught elementary grades 1-2 as well as special education grades 1-4 in various parts of the country during my time as a (now former) military spouse. This is my 4th year at Ashlawn and I’m so excited to be in 4th grade again this year! Outside of teaching, I love to spend time with my husband and 3 children, read, cook, travel, and do DIY projects around the house. My favorite children’s book author is Kate DiCamillo- especially the Mercy Watson series, and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. There are so many things I love about Ashlawn- the supportive community, great students, and the wonderful teachers and staff who are “all-in” every day to help our students become their best selves as global citizens. It’s going to be a great year!
Ms. Michelle Grant
I am a special education teacher here at Ashlawn. My favorite part of being at Ashlawn is the amazing community support between students, staff, and families. I received my bachelors degree in Consumer Journalism at the University of Georgia and received my masters in Special Education: Learning Disabilities at American University in Washington DC. My favorite childhood book was Are You My Mother by Dr. Seuss. My whole family thought it was so funny, and I enjoyed reading it at night with my mom!