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Ashley Naylor - Chicken Soup for FISD

Ashley Naylor - Chicken Soup for FISD
Chicken Soup for FISD Header

In 1993 my husband and I had just gotten married and were preparing to graduate from college. My father-in-law, who was a Friendswood resident, sent us a letter and a newspaper clipping highlighting a story about FISD. He asked us to consider moving to Friendswood.  The article included details about the wonderful community, the school district, and details about an ideal place to raise a family. After reading the newspaper article, I knew if we were going to move from Louisiana, I wanted Friendswood, Texas to be our new home.  


I grew up in Monroe, Louisiana. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all lived nearby.  We were a close-knit family. We did a lot of things together in our community and enjoyed spending time with neighborhood friends. I still stay in touch with our neighbors to this day. My husband got a job in Houston, so we moved here in 1994 and started a family shortly after.  We raised 3 wonderful children that each attended Cline, Windsong, FJH and FHS and were all 12-year graduates. Grace 2014, Isabelle 2017, and Isaiah 2020. Both of the girls were Wranglerettes (thank you, Kara Baker, Ashley Maramaro, Alyssa Goza) and Isaiah played FHS baseball team (thank you, Cory Benavides, Brandon Hollier, Brian Mavus and Travis Moore).


We spent many hours and years at Friday night football games, Wranglerette competitions, and FHS baseball games. I also became a leader for Young Life and spent 10 years loving on FHS students, building relationships centered around Jesus, and hiking a few 14ers at Frontier Ranch.  Those were some of the best years. We met and became friends with some amazing families, made wonderful memories and our children learned many life lessons that they still talk about today. Looking back, I prayed and entrusted them to FISD and I had no idea the positive impact it would have on each one of their lives…and on our family! I remember my husband and me walking each of our children up to Cline on their first day of school. Looking back, I see how their lives were forever changed by FISD and this awesome community. Over the years, we have talked about amazing teachers, coaches and administration around our dinner table and on car rides to school. They connected and were deeply cared about by so many while attending FISD schools. Thank you!  


In 2011, I felt led to become a substitute teacher.  I wanted to give back and be involved in supporting teachers. I subbed at Cline, Windsong, FJH and FHS for many years. Being a sub gave me a new respect for teachers and administrators and  I became FULLY aware why I might not get a quick email response or phone call if I was trying to reach one of my children’s teachers. The world of education was so much more than I could have ever imagined from a parent's eyes.  I recognized why teachers felt stretched and struggled, but also loved students deeply enough to do what they did day in and day out…year after year. I did not go to school to become an educator but quickly fell in love with the positive impact that teachers could have on a group of students, so I decided to start the journey of becoming a teacher.  I came into this pretty late in life, with some “technology challenges” since I was not a young whipper snapper with computer skills like most of my peers, but it was something that I was able to conquer with the support of some great teachers. 


During this time I worked as an inclusion aide, going to 7 different classes on MWF and 7 different classes on Tuesdays/Thursdays to work one on one or with small student groups.   I saw firsthand what many teachers did well and what appeared to draw students in to be fully engaged.  The week before school started in 2017, I saw a job opportunity posted at FHS for a Special Education teacher. I called Mr. Griffon to apply for the position. He asked me to start the following Monday and that was 6 years ago. He has always been one of the most positive, supportive leaders and genuinely cares about our staff and students like family. Our administrative team is just as caring and supportive. I count it a blessing to come to work every single day!


Over the past 6 years, I have been blessed to teach some of the most amazing students in the Quest program. They are gifted, talented, kind and loving. The most precious young adults that have walked the earth. Each year we talk about everyone having special abilities and qualities.  We spend time focusing on strengths and goals for the future. My students know they are valued, heard, and loved.  I have had the blessing to work with the most amazing Special Education staff in FISD.  They are each gifted in their own way and bring a special part to the “table of teaching” What I realize now that I have come full circle from parent to teacher is this is an honor and privilege that I am given each and every day. 


The most recent parts of my journey here at FHS have been the privilege to partner with Canine Companions.  Last year I was able to complete their Facility Dog program in Irving Texas at the Baylor, Scott, and White facility and obtain the handlers certification to partner with Rio!  Rio is a registered labrador retriever that was trained on over 40 commands with Canine Companions.  Because of Rio, we have been able to connect and communicate in new ways with students. Rio has been the most amazing gift to our classroom. He has brought a new level of support for our students.  There are not enough pages or time to describe how blessed we are to have Rio at FHS. Recently, our class wrote a book about him and has traveled to read it with many of the younger students across the district. I am grateful for such a great team of leaders that caught the vision to support this new way to engage with students in Quest. Thank you, Thad Roher, Dahria Driskell, Delaney Lyons, Alicia Louvier, Susan Kirkpatrick, Mr. Griffon and my family for believing in and supporting this program.


Thank you Friendswood and FISD for making a difference in my life and my family! We are forever grateful!


Rio the facility dog
Ashley Naylor and family