Growing up in Heavener, Okla., the daughter of a homemaker and a mechanic, Ashley Gerhardson’s mother encouraged her to consider education as a profession because she enjoyed serving people.
She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith in 2007 with an English degree. Wanting to impact students’ success positively, she began teaching English in 2008 at Fort Smith’s Northside High School and then was Darby Junior High’s instructional facilitator (literacy), founding a mentoring program there and being awarded a state grant to fund after-school programming.
In 2011, she completed a workforce development education master’s and her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction in 2015, both from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She was 28.
Gerhardson added an administration leadership certification from Arkansas State in 2016. In January 2019, she became a board preparation specialist at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine and then accepted her current position in May 2019.
Responsible for federal and state reporting, Gerhardson prepares accreditation reports for ACHE, reports curricular improvement data to the administration, and ensures compliance standards are met.
Driven to impact others’ success, Gerhardson works to ensure a 100% pass rate for students.
“In Fort Smith, we appear on the lowest 10 places to live in the United States because of medicine, so I want to ensure that the medical field continues to grow here,” said Gerhardson, citing her goal of national recognition for the school.
Published in numerous education publications, Gerhardson is in the 2022 class of Leadership Fort Smith, on the Fort Smith Public Schools Vision 2023 Strategic Planning Committee and the Future Fort Smith Committee.