105: Bonus Edition- Interview with Justin Ashley


Justin Ashley is an award-winning teacher, motivational speaker, author, and public education advocate from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he began teaching in 2007. He is also a highly sought-after speaker for professional development. He has been an inspirational keynote presenter for thousands of current and future teachers, creating an atmosphere that bounces back and forth between rapt silence and raucous laughter. In 2013, he became the only teacher ever to win both North Carolina History Teacher of the Year and North Carolina Social Studies Teacher of the Year in the same year.

He currently is pushing to the forefront of the conversation of work-life balance and low teacher retention: While he was winning as a teacher, the rest of his life careened out of his control, ultimately landing him in rehab for an addiction to pain killers. His self-discovery process and road to recovery led him to research ways to combat burnout and reignite his passion for teaching, a journey he shares with readers in his book The Balanced Teacher Path.


  • Don’t give up on a really good lesson that was executed in a bad way
  • Your happiness is not singular, its plural
  • Being passionate as a teacher is a reflection of being passionate as a person
  • Don’t step on the same land mine
  • Fail forward
  • If I don’t own the problem, then I can’t own the decision
  • Reignite your passion outside the classroom and you’ll reignite your passion inside the classroom

Justin’s Stamp of Approval

  • Symbaloo – social bookmarking system

Connect with Justin

Connect with Gretchen

  • Email: gretchen@alwaysalesson.com
  • Blog: Always A Lesson
  • Facebook: Always A Lesson
  • Twitter: @gschultek
  • Instagram: Always.A.Lesson
  • Linkedin: Gretchen Schultek Bridgers
  • Google+: Gretchen Schultek Bridgers
  • Book: Elementary EDUC 101: What They Didn’t Teach You in College

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About the author, Gretchen

I am a teacher trainer and coach. Working elbow to elbow with teachers and teacher leaders to ensure instructional proficiency and student achievement soar lights me up. We have a real need in our nation for strong educators to remain in the field. My blog, book, podcast, courses and instructional materials are geared towards empowering teachers (and those that lead them) to receive the support needed to grow and thrive today, tomorrow and always.