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A Note to Educators: You Inspire the Extraordinary

Written by Ashley Mathis

Hi! I’m Ashley Mathis, the new CEO at Creative Learning Systems.

Yes, I’m just starting my new role this week, but I feel like I already know you. After all, I’ve spent the past few months learning about the incredible work you’re doing and how you’re impacting the lives of the students and families you serve.

As a parent of two daughters, I’ve always appreciated the important role their teachers play in their lives—not just in what and how my girls are learning, but how that’s impacting their growth, confidence, and how they feel about school.

Is school a place where they can take risks? Solve problems? Learn to be part of a team? Are they learning to make sense of information while gathering and evaluating evidence so they can make sound decisions? Is school helping them build essential skills that will ensure they’ll be successful leaders who can solve complex challenges in an ever-changing world?

I’ve seen firsthand how hands-on, personalized learning and engaging STEM environments have prepared my girls to be successful—not just in school, but in life. Despite their learning differences, this type of learning has an equalizing and inclusive affect. 

I’m inspired by the breakthroughs happening across the country in SmartLabs, providing students with hands-on, project-based learning experiences that ignite their passion for science, technology, engineering, and math; helping them build lifelong communication, collaboration, and critical-thinking skills; and empowering them to approach challenges with creativity. For all of these reasons, I’m honored to join the dedicated team at Creative Learning Systems who, in 1987, pioneered STEM and digital media arts programs, and has been innovating ever since. 

I look forward to serving you.

I’m committed to ensuring that your experience with Creative Learning Systems is both high-quality and focused on results. To make sure that happens, I want to hear from you! Please take a few minutes to take this brief anonymous survey and tell me how we can better meet your needs, serve you better, and improve our feedback loop.

You are making a profound impact on your students, and your commitment to engage all types of learners, ignite their potential, and improve their self-confidence inspires me. Together, my team and I look forward to providing you with solutions that will help students develop critical next-generation skills for success in our rapidly evolving world.

Our next steps.

As you prepare for what will be an uncertain school year, please know that we are here for you.

Our team has been working tirelessly to develop solutions to meet the challenges you’ll face this fall. I’m excited that these solutions will introduce the boundless learning that happens in a SmartLab to an even wider variety of educators and students—regardless of what back-to-school looks like for you. More to follow on that soon!

As always, we’re focused on developing innovative solutions that will make your work easier while helping you inspire the students you serve.

We are honored to be your partner. You inspire us every day! Thank you for engaging your students, for helping them build lifelong communication and collaboration skills, and for helping this new generation hone their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. You are empowering them to approach challenges with creativity. 

Thank you for your commitment to making a difference. And thank you for inspiring the extraordinary! 


Ashley Mathis

Ashley Mathis is the Chief Executive Officer for Creative Learning Systems. A mission-driven education executive, Ashley joined the company in June 2020. She is responsible for advancing the organization’s mission to “engage every learner, every day” through high-quality, interdisciplinary, project-based learning environments and curriculum experiences that help students develop next-generation skills. Ashley has nearly two decades of experience working in customer-facing roles within education technology companies. Prior to joining Creative Learning Systems, Ashley previously spent seven years at Teaching Strategies, where she most recently served as the company’s President and was responsible for sales, marketing, public policy, customer success, operations, and human resources. Before joining Teaching Strategies, Ashley served in leadership positions at Discovery Education, where she led the company’s customer success, sales, and marketing efforts. Ashley holds a B.A. in Mass Communications and English Literature from Denison University.

Case Study

Going beyond STEM to teach essential skills

When the team at Jewell Houston Academy, a magnet school in Texas, looked for a STEM program, they wanted one that would not only engage students in STEM careers but could also teach conflict-resolution, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills.

Read about how the SmartLab HQ impacted both learners and enrollment.