- Sponsorship -

She got her start at Kent ISD’s Early Childhood Program after a ‘practice interview’

Meet your Administrator

Ashley Karsten was named director of Early Childhood programs for Kent ISD this summer

When Ashley Karsten drove from her East Lansing home several years ago for a job interview at Kent ISD’s Great Start Readiness Program, she thought it would be a good “practice interview” for a similar job she was seeking in East Lansing.

But when Kent ISD offered her a job the next day as an early childhood specialist, she cancelled the interview in East Lansing and accepted the offer. “I liked the atmosphere, I felt welcomed, I felt at home,” she says. 

This past summer, the Fenton native became the new director of Early Childhood programs at Kent ISD, which includes the Great Start Readiness program, Bright Beginnings program and the Great Start to Quality program. Great Start Readiness serves 3,200 children in 191 classrooms in Kent County. Kent ISD operates 69 Great Start Readiness classrooms directly with 140 teachers. 


  • Working on her doctorate in Childhood Development at Michigan State University:
  • She holds a Masters Degree in Child Development from Michigan State University
  • Earned an undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University
As a preschooler, Ashley Karsten says she loved Christmas and school

Jobs outside education: “My first job was at a Dairy Queen. I also was a nanny in college.”

What kind of kid were you in preschool? “I think I’ve always been a rule follower – a teacher’s pet. I always loved school.”

Family: Husband, Scott, owns and operates a landscape business. They have three children, ages 9, 6 and 3.

Biggest lesson you learn from kids? “Don’t take life too seriously. Make mistakes and get over it. Find the good in situations.”

If I could go back to school, “I wouldn’t be concerned so much about getting a 4.0 (grade average). I think I would enjoy school more and not put so much pressure on myself.”

If you walked into your new school building to theme music every day, what would the song be? “Cruise,” by Florida Georgia Line, says Karsten, a country music fan.

Ashley Karsten at the new demonstration classroom built recently for Kent ISD’s Great Start Readiness Program
- Sponsorship -
James Harger
James Harger
James Harger left School News Network in January of 2020. James previously reported on West Michigan's economy, courts and politics for The Grand Rapids Press and Mlive.com for more than 37 years. He also is employed as Servanthood Leader at Immanuel Lutheran Church in downtown Grand Rapids. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he also has worked for publications in Holland, Mount Pleasant and Lansing. He is married to Lisa and has one daughter, who lives in Ann Arbor.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Have cart, will travel

A Southeast Kelloggsville Elementary music teacher has a new cart for her ukuleles, thanks to her school, her husband and the Kent Career Tech Center...

KCTC and KTC Core students roll up their sleeves to help reduce water runoff at Kent ISD

The water from the Kent ISD area feeds into the Lamberton Creek watershed. The plants will aid in reducing the amount added to the creek...

Bringing ‘positive intent’ to work every day

Heather McKinney-Rewa is the new East Grand Rapids Middle School assistant principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet the Principal...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU