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Ashro Woman: RaShawn J.

Meet Ashro Woman of the Week, RaShawn J. from Florissant, MO

As a Library Media Specialist for grades 3-5, RaShawn does not keep to herself quietly shelving books or hiding behind the checkout counter. Just the opposite. She pours her heart and soul into her job, dressing up like characters from books, acting out stories…and encouraging her students to believe in themselves and become lifelong learners.

“I love the respect I garner when I dress the part, teach the part, and I walk the walk of a compassionate and dedicated educator.” Years ago when she was in first grade herself, RaShawn was inspired by her own teacher, Ms. Griffin. Ms. Griffin brought stories to life and made learning fun. “I vowed when I grew up, I would emulate Ms. Griffin, and I kept my word.”

It’s easy to see that RaShawn puts her all into every endeavor she undertakes, always learning! As a woman of faith, RaShawn has learned that we need God in the good times and the bad times: “When a person goes through seasons in life, those seasons…will still leave a person empty if they don’t include God.”

As a 23-year-long member of Delta Sigma Theta, she has learned how to “journey into the unknown” and forge “lifelong bonds” with strangers—all while helping others. As a mother, she has learned that “being a mother requires a lifetime commitment of… growing spiritually, mentally and physically as much as your age and body will allow. Prayer…is the key.”

This devotion to good character was instilled in her by her mother and grandmother, faith-filled women who taught her about God and The Golden Rule. They gave her a balance of “authentic praise” and “needed criticism” that allowed her, as an adult, to persevere through hard things…such as completing her doctorate through illness and challenge. We all know that weathering these storms is tough, but it makes us better. Keep on pressing on, Ladies!

Congratulations, Dr. RaShawn.

 


Name
RaShawn J.
Which city do you live?
Florissant
Which state do you live?
Missouri
How would you describe the Ashro woman? How do you embody her?
An Ashro woman is one who demands respect and embraces her worth and her purpose by the way she carries herself in style and in actions. She exuberates confidence and she wields her intellectual and ethical consciousness as she interacts with individuals on a professional and personal level. She is unapologetically proud of her ethnicity and heritage and she displays her legacy in a positive and bold manner through her conversations, daily interactions and her overall character traits/attributes. She accessorizes her integrity with poise, patience and compassion. Her wardrobe conveys to her audience that she takes intricate care in her selections for not only clothing, but her personal well- being, self-wellness and her personal state of peace and mental serenity. She is a woman of faith and ethical balance. To simply state it best, “An Ashro woman is a woman who is simply, “Phenomenal!”
What do you do for a living? What do you like most about it? What don’t you like?
I am an elementary Library Media Specialist and I teach students in grades 3rd -5th. I introduce them to various genres of books and authors and I encourage them to embrace their uniqueness and learning through a critical thinking lens. I motivate my students to become lifelong readers and learners and to always believe in themselves and to persevere no matter how challenging a task may be. I love being able to literally model for my students what an avid reader looks like by dressing up in vivid, bold, theatrical clothing and costuming to depict primary characters who are normally not displayed in some of their current textbooks. I love inspiring students’ who are struggling readers to start to embrace literacy and gain interest in comic books, fiction, nonfiction and how to guides. I love establishing positive rapport with my students, colleagues, parents, and my community stakeholders. I love the respect I garner when I dress the part, teach the part, and I walk the walk of a compassionate and dedicated educator. I love being able to introduce books and media in a creative manner without having to adhere to scripted teaching manuals and lessons. I enjoy all aspects of my job and the only component I would like to improve is the shelving and weeding process of selecting and discarding outdated reading content.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend my free time reading, writing, planning creative and innovative lessons for my students, engaging in public speaking events, shopping and storytelling. I love to tell stories and act out the essential climaxes in stories to hook and hold my audience member’s attention. This passion of mine affords me opportunities to not only promote literacy, but subtly provide enlightening messages that promote positivity and peace throughout a world that now needs love more than ever.
What small thing makes you happy?
Some of the small things that bring me joy are: purchasing unique colorful trinkets such as socks, pillows, etc. I love reading a good book that transports me into another place and I love decorating and designing thematic lessons and events. I love creating the element of surprise.
What is your best dish? Who do you make it for—and where do you typically serve it?
My favorite dish is spaghetti. I usually make spaghetti layered with cheese for my family and they love it. Sometimes, I prepare this dish for family gatherings and for special occasion events. I enjoy preparing this dish because others enjoy eating it.
What has been your greatest struggle…and your greatest (or latest) triumph?
One of my most challenging struggles was completing my doctorate journey. I was initially excited to embrace this journey as a personal goal and accomplishment for myself. However, along this journey I experienced unexpected health issues, internal conflicts with some of the staff and I had to rely on God totally and the support from my family. My faith in God kept my spirits ignited enough to continue the process even when my outcome appeared bleak and futile. But, through the grace of God, I made it and I am now officially, “Dr. RaShawn Juanette Johnson.” God is definitely a way maker.
Who influenced you the most in your life. Why? And in what way?
My mother and my grandmother were two of the most influential people in my life because they both worked hard to instill in me the golden rule to “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you.” My mother and grandmother were both faith filled women and they loved their children and grandchildren and always tried to teach us about God, his principles and the bible in general. They kept us feeling confident by giving us authentic praise and needed criticism and discipline in a balanced way. It is imperative to have both because one devoid of the other could present in an individual a false sense of how the real world operates. My first grade teacher who recently transitioned, Ms. Loretha Griffin was also a very positive influence in my life because she made learning fun and she literally brought our reading stories and lessons to life. When I was younger, I vowed when I grew up, I would emulate Ms. Griffin and I kept my word. Yes, these three women definitely were extremely influential in my life and I feel I am positively a better person because of my experiences and interactions with them.
Do you volunteer or do charity work? Tell us about it!
I used to actively volunteer at the Catholic Urban League and at my school for food drives, school supply drives and to assist families in need due to unexpected natural disasters, job lay-offs, etc. However, due to the pandemic, I have not been as active as I would like to and hopefully, in the near future I will resume my normal level of volunteering.
Are you in a sorority? Or is anyone in your family in a sorority? If so, which one and what does it mean to you?
I am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta and I have been for 23 years. Being a member of Delta Sigma Theta generates a sense of pride, accomplishment and distinction in me because I bonded with women of all interests, occupations and walks of life and forged unbreakable friendships and a lifetime sisterhood legacy. I journeyed into the unknown completing challenging tasks with strangers and we had to learn to agree to disagree to then make decisions that were above our reasoning to aid in the betterment of mankind. Sharing a vision to promote literacy, and the importance of a solid education to our youth and creating opportunities for them to qualify for scholarships and internships they never believed possible is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a member of this illustrious organization. I am a Delta girl for life
What do you love about fashion and style?
I love to dress in bold colors in attire to match my creativity and love for theatrical flair. I believe that a woman’s appearance and wardrobe represents her personality, beliefs, passion and purpose. I love how a woman can make a subtle or bold statement by the way she dresses as she maneuvers her presence in any setting she is in attendance. Fashion creates an aura of movement in which people climb aboard and they begin to expect social and personal change. Style can create a sense of unity and equality for people and in some instances, fashion and style became the staple for civil rights and justice. I love the way fashion trends and styles go in and out of season representing eras of time in which occurrences were different. I love how I can yield positive attention when I wear outfits that are perky, bizarre and yet inquisitively evoking and it sparks curiosity among the crowds. Some of the most famous female leaders such as: Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Cicely Tyson and Jackie Kennedy Onassis were woman who changed the world with their appearances and their purposes being simultaneously introduced to the world through their choice of clothing and fashion style. Fashion and style can be achieved whether a person shops at a high-end boutique or a thrift store because concepts of appearance generate in a person’s mind and soul and is then manifested in how they put the ensemble together and model it for the world to see.
Has anyone in particular influenced your style?
The women I mentioned above definitely had an impact on my perception of style but celebrities such as Patti Labelle, Naomia Campbell and Gladys Knight have also painted a vivid portrait of class in my mind as well. These women possess a certain amount of dignified class and dramatic flair as they dress to invite their viewers to enjoy their talents and gifts. Their clothes were a big part of the receptiveness they received on and off stage. Their clothing set an expectation of excellence and quality. Their clothing style and fashion left something for the imagination and yet their bold, shimmering colors and material patterns wooed their spectators and left women scrambling to not only purchase clothing like theirs, but to create their hairstyles themselves as well. The statement, “Dress for Success,” is so accurate. One has to not only look the part but feel the part in order to sell their agenda, message, purpose and talents.
What occasions/events do you dress up for? (for example-do you often dress up for church, cultural events, charity events, going out, etc.) And how often do you typically get dressed up?
What occasions/events do you dress up for? (for example-do you often dress up for church, cultural events, charity events, going out, etc.) And how often do you typically get dressed up? I dress up each day when I go to work whether it is in my regular colorful attire or if I am dressed in dramatic clothing or theatrical costuming. I also wear unique clothing when I attend concerts and special occasion events. I wear eye-catching clothing to church as well. Since the pandemic, I have not been attending church as much and I still dressed up when I was teaching my students virtually for the past year and a half.
How has your style evolved over time?
As I have gotten older, I have matured and become a more intentional dresser. I plan the types of responses and reactions I want to elicit from my family, friends and co-workers and most importantly my students. I do not necessarily follow trends, but I purchase clothing that represents me and how I embody my self -image, purpose and self-worth. I love sharing my personality and talents with the world and one’s appearance is a daily business card that generates potential clients and investors as he or she professional gains the attention of interested people. I believe that my appearance should make a statement and inspire others to look their best, give their best and do their best in every situation they encounter. Looking good makes a person feel good and when you feel good, there is an internal gauge that initiates a person to aspire to become the best person that he or she can be.
Do you wear hats? How often and what type of hat? Do you wear them to church? If so, be sure to share a pic of you in a hat with us!
No, I am not a real hat person. Sometimes, I will wear playful hats and baseball caps to camouflage a bad hair day.
Do you wear headwraps? How often? Where did you learn how to tie it? Share a pic of you in a headwrap with us!
No, unfortunately, I do not wear head-wraps and I have not mastered the art of tying them either.
Do you wear wigs? How often and what length or style? If so, be sure to share a pic of you in a wig with us!
Yes, I do wear wigs and I love them. I usually wear shoulder length wigs with a part and curly or wavy pattern.
Are you a woman of faith? How does that faith affect your life? Please tell us more.
Yes, I am definitely a woman of faith. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. If it wasn’t for God, I would not have made it this far in my life. My faith in God has sustained me through the good times and bad times in my life. I’ve learned that when a person goes through seasons in life, those seasons of blessings will still leave a person empty if they don’t include God, because these seasons are temporary and they must include a spirit of thankfulness and gratefulness. Also, when a person goals through their season of trouble and disappointment, a spirit of faith in Jesus has to be summoned up and activated as well. God desires for us to embrace him and talk to him continuously throughout every minute of our lives. I am talking to him now as I am resubmitting my responses to you.
Do you attend church? What church do you go to and what do you love most about it?
Yes, I attend church. I belong to Ninth Street Church of God In Christ, a small quaint church located in East Saint Louis, Illinois. I love the fact that the church is small, filled with love and compassion and the members are approachable, down to earth and genuine about spreading the gospel about Jesus.
How are you passing along your faith traditions onto your children/grandchildren?
I am trying to model by example of what my children should do and also I am trying to instill in them the same values my mother and grandmother instilled in me “To do unto others as I would desire others to do unto me.” It feels as if it is harder to convey these core values and spiritual parables with my children and students because the world is becoming more difficult to maneuver through and the media and other social platforms distract from the need to include Jesus into our daily lives. It is with and through my faith that I do not give up and I continue to exemplify God’s teachings even when sometimes it does not appear I am being successful. I continue to plant the seeds.
Are you a First Lady or a Pastor?
No
Your best advice?
Every woman should know her worth and illicit the companionships and relationships that will flourish her ambitions, beliefs, future aspirations and visions. A woman should demonstrate to the world how she demands to be treated with respect and dignity. Women should lift each other up and help straighten their sister’s crowns and not alert the world when someone she knows falls short or makes a mistake. Women should embrace change and model for the world the new expectations of a Queen! An Ashro woman should be bold, confident, elegant and dignified and when she speaks she should not have to raise her voice to be heard, but let her vernacular and poise raise the volume. An Ashro woman should be intentional in her words and actions so that there will be less opportunities for miscommunication and apologies. Finally, an Ashro woman and all women should simply, “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you.”
What lessons has motherhood (or being a grandmother) taught you?
Motherhood has taught me that a mother is on call 24 hours a day and night. It is a relentless job of forgiveness, prayer and hopefulness. I’ve learned that I have to inspect what I expect and I also have to constantly trust in God when my parenting skills appear rewarding and when they appear to be flailing. Motherhood can be exceptionally rewarding and disheartening all in the same breath. I am proud to be a mother and it is one aspect of who I am and what I have accomplished thus far, and what I am currently tasked to complete as I live. I have learned that being a mother requires a lifetime commitment of pledging to grow spiritually, mentally and physically (meaning to stay as healthy and vibrant) as much as your age and body will allow. Prayer, I learned is the key!
Are you an Ashro Credit customer? If so, how has our credit helped you?
If so, how has our credit helped you? Yes, I am an Ashro credit customer. Being an Ashro credit customer has afforded me opportunities to select and purchase unique clothing that resonates with my personality utilizing a payment plan that makes these items affordable. I enjoy budgeting my purchases and acquiring a few new pieces at a time without overspending and going into severe debt.
Do you have a memory to share of when you first heard about Ashro or when you received your first catalog?
One of my fondest memories regarding Ashro is when I received my first catalog and I ordered the Queen yellow and black apron. I purchased this item to wear for my school’s black history month program and my introduction to my students about famous African American author’s and poets. I received so many compliments and raving conversation about wearing the apron and accessorizing it with my love for reading, storytelling and promoting literacy. People witnessed my passion, creativity and dedication for teaching and promoting lifelong reading. My students’ called me the “Library Queen” and they said they were going to invent things and publish books. I told them they would absolutely become doctors, lawyers, judges, rappers, singers, artists, entrepreneurs, and everything that they could imagine they would like to become. My first purchase from Ashro literally allowed me to strike gold in my professional and personal arena, and I have been a pleased customer since.

Thanks for inspiring us, RaShawn!

If you’d like a chance to be a future Ashro Woman of the Week, share your story with us—then watch your weekly Ashro emails to see if you’re featured next! Already filled out our questionnaire? Then you’re all set (you may see yourself featured in next week’s email)! Make sure to tell your friends and family to sign up for emails. We can’t wait to see you!


 

Comments (1)

Debra Summerville

I truly enjoyed RaShawn story very inspiring and comforting to read her story and feel like I was a part of her beautiful story. RaShawn continue spreading your Beautiful soul with the world.

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Published on May 23 2022

Last Updated on May 19 2022

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