From the World of Business to Education
Ashley Millet LeBlanc has had success transferring her skills.
The smell of newly sharpened pencils, the stiffness of fresh uniforms and the butterflies roiling in the pit of one’s stomach can only mean one thing: the start of a new school year.
For Ashley Millet LeBlanc, last Monday was supposed to be her “10th First Day of School,” but her school, Morris Jeff Community School (MJCS) in the heart of Mid-City, was closed because of the flooding throughout the city. Many of the teachers and staff, who were at school preparing for their students, were stranded as their cars filled with water.
“This tested our perseverance,” says Millet. “Once again showing just how resilient we are.”
Millet was born in New Orleans and went through the Jefferson Parish school system. At Nicholls State University she pursued a double major in culinary arts and mass communications. After graduating, Millet quickly entered the business world. She worked with legendary chef John Folse, helping to coordinate his media and marketing, and worked on his PBS show and radio appearances. She also worked for the United States Department of Agriculture promoting the food business.
She then began teaching at the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans as a chef/teacher and her life path changed. It was there that she discovered her passion for education. Millet received her teaching certification but didn’t leave her business acumen behind.
“I use my public relations and marketing skills every day in the classroom,” she says. “I make contingency plans to avert problems. I also use my communication education to effectively deal with parents and students. And, especially when I first started teaching, I had to market myself to prove I would go above and beyond for my students.”
Throughout her career Millet’s done exactly what every good teacher does, help each one of her students succeed.
“Our oldest son requires a diet of pureed food, but in Ms. Millet’s class he suddenly became interested in popcorn,” said Kira Zoe Radtke Friedrich, who has two sons at MJCS. “Every time he would see her, even after he graduated from her class, he would wheel his chair over to her and “steal” her popcorn. She was a great teacher to him because she maximized what he could do instead on focusing on what he could not.”
Millet is no longer in a classroom — she recently received a master’s in education in curriculum and instruction, high incidence disabilities with a concentration in applied behavior analysis.
“I know it’s a mouth full,” she says.
She now moves throughout the school and teaches students in Pre-K through first grade as a special education teacher.
One of the things, out of the many things she loves about teaching, is seeing the joy in her students’ faces when they finally get what they’ve been working so hard at.
“Chef Ashley was an instructor in Morris Jeff’s after school program in our first year of operation,” says Jennifer Fenton Weishaupt, owner of Ruby Slipper Café. “My son Aidan was in Pre-K and loved cooking with her. He was so excited when he found out she would be his kindergarten teacher. Having such a fun and caring teacher really helped cement his love of learning.”
Here’s to a great new school year for your children and for their dedicated teachers.