Newsmaker: Ashlee Beckett
Noteworthy: Beckett won a Keizai Koho Center Fellowship for 2013, sponsored by the Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs in cooperation with the National Association of Japan-America Societies. She will spend several weeks in Japan this summer to learn about Japanese culture and society — experiences that she said will help her teaching in Western Pennsylvania.
Occupation: Beckett teaches global geography to sixth-graders at Jefferson Middle School in the Mt. Lebanon School District. She is a volleyball coach and started the school's International Club.
Background: A 2001 graduate of Baldwin High School, Beckett grew up in a family of educators. She taught for two years in Fairfax County, Va., before returning to the Pittsburgh area. She has worked for six years at Jefferson Middle School and recently earned National Board Certification in early-adolescent social studies.
Education: Bachelor's degree in elementary education, Duquesne University, 2005; master's degree in educational leadership, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, 2009.
Quote: “I think middle school is a perfect age to impact kids because they're still excited about and interested in learning, and they're starting to establish their own interests and direction in life.”