First-year teaching


Ashley Kloeker

Ashley Kloeker '26 dreams of returning to the Miami Valley to teach high school math and coach varsity softball.

Early Experiences guide future goals

Ashley Kloeker ’26 found her right major at Bluffton University because of a requirement that all students pursuing teaching gain classroom experience in their first year.  Through placements at both Lima City Schools and Cory-Rawson School District, Kloeker confirmed her calling to teaching but realized her true passion is in connecting with older students. 

“I actually started as a P-5 education major, and I realized that I loved the kids, but I didn’t like that they were so dependent on me,” explained Kloeker, of Troy, Ohio. “At the high school level, they challenge you, and they ask, ‘why is that?’ I like going in-depth with their questions.” 

Now, a mathematics major pursuing an Adolescent/Young Adult teaching licensure, Kloeker chose math because it was the subject she was most engaged by.

“Solving a problem and thinking through the ways I’m going to figure it out just clicks with me,” said Kloeker. 

Now, her dream is to return to the Miami Valley to teach high school math and coach varsity softball.

A member of Bluffton’s softball team, Kloeker’s high school coach encouraged her to visit. Once on campus, she was surrounded by Troy-Bluffton connections. 

“My cousin Darius [Boeke ’23, MBA ’25] goes here, and he came on the tour and made it feel like home, and my tour guide was Emily Clawson ’22, and she lived just down the road, so we basically grew up together,” said Kloeker. “Then my high school softball coach went to Bluffton, and he also came on the visit, so everything just pointed to Bluffton!”

Now firmly settled on campus, she plays second base for the Beavers, is vice president of Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), sings in University Chorale and Camerata Singers, attends Delight Ministries meetings and is starting up a Bible study with a friend. 

She also works as a resident advisor and was recently named a President’s Ambassador. 

A “Woo” (Winning Others Over) on the Clifton Strengths personality test, Kloeker is excited to be on the other side of the campus tour experience. 

“I like to win people over,” said explained. “So, when I meet people, I’m like, ‘Oh, you should come to Bluffton. Here are all the great things we have!’”

While she is highly involved on campus now, Kloeker was initially unsure about her skills and abilities in two of her favorite activities: softball and choir. Based on her experiences, she has advice for prospective and incoming students.

“You only get a few years here, so what I live by is try it! If you have any remote want to try something new, do it. Enjoy college while you can because this is the only time these people will be in your life.” 

First-year field experience

Prepare to teach

Students in our education program are placed in area classrooms starting in their very first semester. This ensures that this challenging career is really the place they are called to be.