Emma Willard School is pleased to announce the addition of Ashley L. Bennett, EdD as our new director of college counseling beginning with the 2021-22 school year. With more than 15 years in the college counseling profession, Dr. Bennett has most recently served as director of college counseling at KIPP Sunnyside High School in Houston, Texas. She is co-leader and director of community culture of ACCEPT (Admissions Community Cultivating Equity & Peace Today), an advocacy group and community that centers racial justice in the college admissions process and profession.
Dr. Bennett was born and raised in Houston and began her work in college admissions at Oklahoma City University, where she served as assistant director of admissions and began honing her skills to help students successfully navigate the complexities of the college admission process. Following this role, Dr. Bennett served as director of admissions and recruitment at Wiley College, a small, private HBCU* in Marshall, TX. She served as a college counselor at an independent high school for girls for five years before transitioning to her role as director of college counseling at KIPP Sunnyside High School.
In recent years Dr. Bennett has built upon her admissions and college counseling expertise to serve on national panels to unpack and discuss racism and inequity in education. She has presented at multiple conferences on topics such as microaggressions, being Black in the profession, leveraging technology, code switching, and the intersection of race and gender in college admissions. In 2020, she was a panelist and facilitator for Impact Tulsa, Change Happens in Houston, Rutgers University, and the Being Black in College webinar series for ACCEPT. Most recently, Dr. Bennett was the keynote speaker for The Princeton Review and Tutor.com, where she discussed equity and access in the college counseling and college admissions spheres.
Dr. Bennett received her bachelor’s degree in African and African American studies from The University of Oklahoma and a master’s in Adult Education with an emphasis in training from the University of Central Oklahoma. She earned her doctorate in ethical leadership from the University of St. Thomas in 2020, where she researched the lived experiences of transgender students in high school. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the largest Black Greek-letter sorority in the world. When she is not working, Dr. Bennett enjoys time with her husband, Chevy, and her kids, Aijah and Austin.
Dr. Bennett will join our current College Counseling team, Alysia Majeran and Abbey Massoud-Tastor, in guiding Emma students in their college search process. The Emma Willard School College Counseling team helps each student gain admission to a college or university that fits their intellectual and personal abilities, interests, and aspirations. Our team of experienced counselors help educate, counsel, guide, support, and advocate throughout the college application process. “We are excited about the new perspective Dr. Bennett will bring,” shares Meredith Legg, Assistant Head of School. “In a world that is ever-changing, the challenges and opportunities that await our students demand no less than our purposeful commitment to excellence. We believe that the addition of Dr. Bennett to our team will move us forward in that journey.”
“I am most excited about joining a community that supports young women who show up in the world fully, authentically, and boldly,” Dr. Bennett shares. “I am also excited to have my own Aijah join the Class of 2022! College counseling has been my heart’s joy for many years because I get to hear students’ stories and help them find a place that will help them realize their dreams.” Dr. Bennett will begin this important role in July and looks forward to meeting all students, but especially the Class of 2022.
* Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Contextual Note: We announced earlier this year that Co-director of College Counseling Kent Jones will retire at the end of this school year after 21 years of service to Emma Willard School. Dr. Bennett will be working closely with Mr. Jones to ensure a seamless transition as he looks toward retirement in June.