Meet 2022 Atlantic County ESP of the Year Ashley Vitullo
As chickens squawk in the background, 2022 Atlantic County ESP of the Year Ashley Vitullo describes her career as a daytime custodian who also provides shipping and receiving services for the Mullica Township School District. The chickens are a clue to her real passion, one that she has been working toward—and using to inspire her students.
Vitullo is working on a degree in environmental science and a minor in natural science. She went back to school online in 2021 at Wilmington University because they provide her with the flexibility she needs to balance her career and her studies.
“I started going to college but had to stop because I was paying my own way,” Vitullo says. “I began working as a night custodian right out of high school in another school district and eventually came to Mullica.”
Vitullo, who lives in Mays Landing, keeps chickens, roosters and goats. She appreciates that Wilmington University makes it possible for her to continue her studies. All of her previous credits transferred, and they send lab kits to her home. Every week, a different kit arrives in a giant box so she can pursue her passion for science.
Vitullo hopes to eventually work for the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. She appreciates that, as a public employee, she has access to a quality paycheck, health benefits, and a pension, and one of the perks of working for the state is those benefits will transfer.
When one of Vitullo’s colleagues heard she was taking online classes to pursue her degree, she encouraged her to apply to work for Mullica’s after-school enrichment program, known as ACES. Barbara Rheault, Atlantic County Council of Education Associations president and a past president of Mullica Township Education Association, encouraged Vitullo to work with the students to share her love of science.
“I make my own lesson plans, and I sign up to teach every semester,” Vitullo said. “I give teachers a lot of credit—it is a hard job!”
“I really like everyone at my school; the people here are awesome,” Vitullo said. “The kids are really fun and this is such a small community you’re bound to run into someone you know in the area.”
Vitullo was shocked to be named the Atlantic County ESP of the Year.
“I feel honored that I was picked out of every school district in the county,” Vitullo said. “I didn’t realize how many districts there were until I attended the awards luncheon! It’s crazy when you think of how many schools there are. It felt good to be recognized for my hard work.