Edited 8/29/20, 1:50 p.m. to correct Dr. Allene Magill's first name and the position/organization in which she served to executive director of PAGE.
Work skills often are achieved through field experience – something Ashley Beil of Coweta County already knows.
Beil, a senior in the University of West Georgia’s College of Education, has taken advantage of a unique opportunity to gain field experience with her position at White Oak Elementary, where she works full time as a paraprofessional while she is pursuing her degree in elementary education.
“I have been given an invaluable opportunity to go ahead and work in the classroom setting,” Beil said. “This experience is really preparing me for my career.”
The College of Education at UWG is one of the only colleges in the state that makes the dual experience possible and flexible for students.
Because of her involvement with the program, Beil was uniquely positioned to receive the Dr. Allene Magill Scholarship administered by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. This scholarship is intended for paraprofessionals in the state of Georgia who are seeking to obtain certification.
Magill was a prominent figure in education in Georgia as she worked her way up through the education field and served as executive director of PAGE from 2003 until her death in 2018. Biel said she has been inspired by Magill and hopes to follow in her footsteps.
“My goal is to eventually work in administration and follow in the legacy of Dr. Magill,” Beil said.
Beil's involvement at UWG positioned her to be a recipient of this scholarship. She learned about the opportunity from COE’s Dr. Susan Mullins, who first encountered Biel in the Teacher Pipeline Program at the Central Educational Center in 2016.
Mullins retired from the Coweta County School System that same year and went to work at UWG Newnan.
“Ashley and I stayed in contact, and I encouraged her to visit us at UWG Newnan,” Mullins said. “She made the decision to enroll, and I again had the opportunity to teach her in two of the education courses that are prerequisites for enrollment in the College of Education.
“I have been extremely fortunate to be a mentor to Ashley,” she added. “She embodies a particularly strong work ethic and excellence in her academic course.”
Beil said Mullins has made a significant impact on her.
“She was influential in my decision to come to UWG,” said Beil. “She mentored me in high school as well as in college, and she told me about the opportunity of working as a paraprofessional while pursuing my degree.”
By attending UWG, Beil has been exposed to hands-on training that she otherwise wouldn’t have known was possible.
“UWG has opened doors and opportunities that I didn’t know could be open,” she said.