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Ashford University Awards Scholarships to Four Local Teachers to Pursue Master’s Degrees
Scholarships presented during A Salute to Teachers event at Balboa Theatre

Four local teachers were awarded scholarships from Ashford University to pursue master’s degrees as part of the A Salute to Teachers Event on October 11 at the Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego. Melissa Cobian, Samuel Hess, Stephen Keiley, and Laurel Rice were all awarded scholarships for the master of arts in teaching and learning with technology degree program at Ashford University.

“This is a profession that requires us to stay on top at all times,” said Cobian, assistant principal at Olive Peirce Middle School. “What better way to receive a degree in technology than online with teachers from all around the country.”

Hess, a fifth grade teacher at King Chavez Arts Academy, believes education and technology go hand in hand. “Anyone can turn on an iPad, but actually making meaning of it and showing how to use an iPad for education makes all the difference in the world.”

Keiley teaches fourth grade at Monarch School and is looking forward to learning the dynamics behind creating an online classroom. “I want to create an environment where I can still stay in touch with students when they miss school, where I can create a portal for us to communicate, a place where I post lessons and they post back.”

Rice trains teachers how to use 21st century strategies in the classroom and says the opportunity to pursue her master’s degree will provide her with another tool in her classroom. “I will be able to communicate and learn from professors who are experts in this and when that information comes to me, I can then take it and weave it into my own trainings that we’re offering to teachers in the district here and that, in turn, trickles out to their students.”

“Successful, well-educated teachers help to create successful, well-educated students,” said Dr. Lori Williams, Ashford University provost. “All of us at Ashford University understand this direct correlation and that’s why we award master’s degree scholarships to four deserving teachers in San Diego County. We can all attest to the profound impact teachers have when they truly care about their students. Teachers help build character and prepare students for the world.”

To be selected for the Teacher Appreciation Scholarship, applicants submitted essays on the effects of online learning, the expanding modern classroom, and a teacher’s impact on the learning community. All essays were then subjected to a blind review conducted by representatives from the San Diego County Office of Education and Ashford University.

The 2015 Teacher Appreciation Scholarship Program is now open and accepting applications. To apply, visit

About Ashford University
Where heritage meets innovation – that’s Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelor’s, and master’s online degree programs, while the Clinton, Iowa campus offers bachelor’s programs. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit,,, or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.

Ashford University Teacher Appreciation Scholarship recipients with San Diego County superintendent and Ashford University provost, from left to right: Laurel Rice, Samuel Hess, Dr. Randy Ward, Dr. Lori Williams, Melissa Cobian, and Stephen Keiley