Instructor Spotlight: Ashley Newby is a Dental Assistant Instructor at FCC In Pembroke Pines who is passionate about student success

Florida Dental Assistant Instructor Finds Rewards Through Relationships

Even as a young girl, Ashley Newby was always attracted to smiles.

“My first impression was always smiles,” she said. “I wanted to be in the dental field. I know a lot of people are self-conscious about their smile. I felt like I would be able to help people get that confidence of having that nice smile. It was helping people get a smile they could love.”

Sixteen years ago, Ashley made that dream come true when she became a dental assistant. Now, she helps others make it a reality by being an instructor at Florida Career College’s Pembroke Pines campus.

“I love the students,” she said. “They keep coming. They are eager to learn. They want to be there. They are asking the questions. It’s fun for me. It’s exciting that I’m able to help produce the future dental assistants. That’s a product of me.”

What sets Ashley apart from other instructors is the way she cares about her students. It’s because of this caring that her students continue to come to class and have one of the best attendance and graduation rates on campus.

“The reason she achieves those results is because of her approach in the classroom,” said LaMarr Moses, director of education at Pembroke Pines. “She creates this relational environment of trust and mutual respect. Her teaching style really is, ‘I’m going to create an environment where you truly feel like you belong. I’m going to treat you like an adult and I’m going to create this climate of safety and care and nurturing.’ I believe that’s the main reason that we see the success on the other end. Students like her.”

Dr. Moses said he depends on Ashley to help him reach out to students who have fallen behind, because she has the best success getting ahold of them. He has also seen students who graduated years ago return to campus on Ashley’s birthday to bring her a cake and say hello.

“That’s care. That’s relationships,” he said. “Not only did they have her birthday somewhere on the calendar, but they put a plan together to get together at their old school to bring this woman a cake. That speaks to who she is.”

“I have a good relationship with my students,” Ashley said. “They’ve told me it’s a different relationship than they’ve had with teachers at other schools. They feel like they can come to me with whatever it is, even if it is not dental related.”

Part of the reason Ashley is able to develop that relationship may be because she is able to relate to the students. She considers herself a fairly-reserved person, she knows dental work can be intimidating at first, and she also knows it can be difficult to juggle school and real life. Not only is she a full-time instructor, but she is also still working as a dental assistant on the weekends and recently started school to become a dental hygienist.

“I work every day of the week,” Ashley said. “It is difficult but that’s a part of life. I always tell my students these are short-term sacrifices that you have to make for your long-term goals. I try to remind them of that, especially while they are in school. Something is always going to come up. Something is going to happen to where it will get difficult for you to get here or complete the assignment you need to do. That’s going to happen. It’s a short sacrifice that you have to do to keep your long-term goals in mind.”

It’s the culture of Florida Career College that makes connecting with students feel natural for Ashley. Her hope for every student is that they leave her classroom with not only the skills they need for a good job, but for a good future.

“We’re the college that cares,” she said. “They can come in and the staff and instructors will be caring for you and your concerns. You won’t just get an instructor. You get someone who cares about you and your education, and furthering your career.”