About Kimberly

Kimberly Keniley-Ashbrook started her career in education when she merged her loves of teaching, children, and music while pursuing duel bachelor’s degrees in music performance and music education at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  While training to become a classroom educator, Kimberly taught grades Pre-K through college-age students.  During her first year of teaching at Westville Junior High and High School, she was given the challenge of creating a choir, show choir, and staged musical, as well as building and coordinating a gifted program for grades 2-8.  She received her Level I and II gifted training during this time.

While teaching chorus in Central Illinois, and then Vermont, Kimberly taught students of varying abilities and talents and created popular and educationally sound choir programs.

After returning to Illinois, Kimberly worked at Robeson Elementary School in Champaign as the school enrichment specialist.  During her time at Robeson, she provided enrichment services to grades K-4, coordinated a state-funded arts grant, created a student leadership team for the school, brought in a foreign diplomat to the school, and lead her geography team to first place in the Champaign Schools Geo-Bee.  She was trained in Positive Behavior Intervention Support, took part in curriculum adoption meetings, and was trained in intensive reading and math interventions.  She also co-wrote and was awarded an Illinois State Arts grant to bring a local artist to the school to teach dance.

While working on her growing family, Kimberly decided to pursue a master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois.  She taught at University Primary School, recognized internationally for best practices in both early childhood education and gifted education, while completing a degree in Special Education with an emphasis on Curriculum Adaptation and Gifted Education.   During her graduate school experience, Kimberly wrote and was rewarded several competitive state grants, including a Preschool for All grant to provide free preschool services for area children.  She was also given the opportunity to create lasting connections with experts in her fields of study and was able to supervise and train undergraduate and graduate students in the classroom, imparting her love of education on future teachers.

After completing her graduate degree, Kimberly began working for The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, an organization committed to excellence in middle-grades education.  She served as a project director for a federal Comprehensive School Reform Quality-Initiative grant, aiding in the creation of a website focusing on professional development tools for middle school mathematics educators.  Kimberly also focuses on advocacy for The National Forum, setting up congressional visits for nationally- ranked middle-school educators and administrators with their U.S. Representatives in Washington, D.C.  She continues to provide social media marketing, website development resources, and annual Schools To Watch conference support for the Forum.

Kimberly volunteers her time with the Homer Youth League, Heritage PTC, Cub Scout Pack 42, and teaches her son’s Kindergarten religion class.  She is the new owner of Mudpies ‘n’ Fireflies, formally the Village Wardrobe, in Homer.

Kimberly and her husband of 14 years, Jonathan Ashbrook, have four little boys, two of whom attend Heritage Elementary School.  They live on Jonathan’s family farmstead, a 100-year farm, near Homer.