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Spotlight on Bay Path University Concord Student: Ashley Dean G’19

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Ashley Dean G’19, a student in the Special Education Administrator Graduate Program at Bay Path University’s Concord campus, has spent 12 years working in the field of special education. Dean, who was recently promoted to the position of Coordinator of Special Education at The Gifford School in Weston, Massachusetts, credits Bay Path with giving her the credentials, theories, and confidence she needed to advance in the field.

“The program faculty have been an incredible resource because of their level of practical experience working in the field,” Dean said. “I’ve also learned so much from my classmates, who work in both public and private special education departments. The variety of perspectives they brought to the discussions taught me more than any textbook could have ever given me.”

Dean selected Bay Path because it was highly recommended to her by colleagues, and because of its unique cohort structure, allowing her to build strong relationships with her classmates.

“In education, networking is so important,” Dean said. “I’m grateful that the cohort model has given me the opportunity to build a rapport with fellow students. We study together, and lift each other up with support.”

Because of the relevance of her coursework, Dean was able to overcome the learning curve that came with her new position with ease.

“The coursework filled the gap in my knowledge by teaching me important laws and regulations so that I could do my job with confidence,” Dean said. “My professors challenged me to apply what I was learning in the classroom to my everyday work. As a result, I built up the self-assurance to go into meetings with senior staff members at Gifford and speak up about the latest happenings in the field of special education administration.”  

Dean is excited for her professional future as she loves what she does and wants to continue to provide students with special needs a positive educational experience and help them develop strategies to lead productive, happy lives.

“Although the program is a huge investment in terms of time and money, the career return is priceless. I will take all the academic lessons, networking, and practical experiences with me and continue to apply them to my career pathway,” Dean said.