Tuesday, March 20 , 2018, 4:02 am | Fair 51º


Laguna Blanca’s Ashley Tidey Named Rhodes Inspirational Educator

Cameron M. Platt, left, and Ashley Tidey at 2016 Princton graduation. Click to view larger
Cameron M. Platt, left, and Ashley Tidey at 2016 Princton graduation. (Laguna Blanca School)

It looked like junk mail. A large envelope from The Rhodes Trust nearly found itself in the recycle bin when Laguna Blanca School teacher Ashley Tidey received it earlier this month.

“I was literally about to toss the thing, thinking it was some accidental solicitation of a high school teacher,” Tidey says.

She opened it anyway and was surprised to learn The Rhodes Trust named her a 2017 Rhodes Inspirational Educator.

“I was completely shocked, stunned, and overwhelmed,” Tidey said. “I still am.”

Laguna Blanca graduate Cameron M. Platt (2012) received the Rhodes Scholarship in 2016 and nominated Tidey for the award, which honors teachers and professors who have had the most profound influence on students who earn the Rhodes Scholarship.

“What best explains her magic is that Dr. Tidey teaches with immeasurable love; love for her craft, her material and, above all, her students,” Platt said in her nomination letter.

“When she first taught me in seventh grade, she lit the fire of my love for literature, and it still burns brightly. In the years since, Dr. Tidey has stood by me with extraordinary love and support, both in and out of the classroom,” Platt said.

Tidey teaches English and oversees the Experiential Learning Program at Laguna Blanca School. She said she observed greatness in Platt from the moment she entered the classroom.

“I’ve never had a student quite like her, and I’ve been teaching for 28 years," Tidey said. "I remember reading some of Cameron’s work when she was in seventh grade and thinking, ‘Who is this kid?’

"And, I remember reading the last essay she wrote for me in AP lit and thinking: ‘This child has passed to the other side, to some other place that we know not of in high school. She was writing in a new language, at a new level, that of someone much older than she.’”

Platt attended Laguna Blanca School from grades seven through 12 and was taught by Tidey in Grades 7, 9, 11 and 12. Platt went on to be Princeton University’s Valedictorian for 2016, earning a BA in English.

As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, she is pursuing an M.St. in English and American studies and the M.St. in medieval studies.

Before coming to Laguna Blanca, Tidey served as a lecturer within UCSB’s Writing Program for five years and before that as an associate instructor of English at Indiana University.

She earned her B.A. at Williams College and her Ph.D. from Indiana University in Bloomington, both in English.

For more information, visit lagunablanca.org or contact 687-2461.

— Tara Broucqsault for Laguna Blanca School.

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