Leadership Team Values, Approach, and Accomplishments
Artesian Schools, Inc. believes that a values-rich environment inspires students to work hard, take leadership, and treat others with respect. Artesian’s paradigm is a set of values that, if followed, will lead to success in school and life. It hinges upon each school community embracing and living out its values.
Artesian's CEO has an unwavering commitment to provide strong leadership to the Artesian staff, and her approach is rooted in her personal and professional experiences. Priorities are in line with Artesian’s values and include:
- Sustainability, both for people and for organization. This is modeled in the team approach to leadership where individuals' strengths, abilities, and experience complement one another, allowing the hard work of running schools to be sustainable—the Leadership Team will not try to be Superman. Additionally, each school's financial model is self-sustaining beginning no later than in its fifth year of operation.
- Transparent and clear communication. High expectations of the students and staff are modeled daily. Not only are the mission and vision of the school consistently conveyed, but explicit strategies and tactics to meet them are provided through weekly staff professional development. Staff and students are given regular and specific feedback.
- Teamwork. Everyone is held accountable for their actions and outputs, but no one is expected to do everything alone. Teaching Teams and Support Teams meet daily to strategize how to best meet student needs.
- Love of learning. Administration, teachers, staff, and students are always learning, reading new books, and expanding their life experiences. They strive to be the best they can be.
Artesian’s Leadership Team will bring experience in both instructional and organizational leadership. Founder and CEO, Ashley Smith, spent three years in leadership roles in a $1 billion company, including most recently serving as her organization’s Analytics Manager for the Eastern Business Unit, before transitioning to founding Artesian Schools, Inc. Ms. Smith received a Master of Business Administration from Goizueta Business School at Emory University and has extensive leadership, management, and operational experience that make her a valuable part of the Artesian team. Her passion for Memphis and excellent educational options for its young people stems from when she tutored at Kingsbury High School during the 2007-08 school year. Ms. Smith spent the past four years serving alongside the leadership teams at various Memphis charter schools and traveling to great schools around the country; these experiences helped solidify her educational philosophy and vision for Artesian.
 Waiting for “Superman”. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Electric Kinney Films, 2010. Film.