‘A Great Place to Come Home To’: Marsha Burke Ashley

Phylicite Chitwood, left, interviews Marsha Burke Ashley. (Provided photo)

Phylicite Chitwood, left, interviews Marsha Burke Ashley. (Provided photo)


This is the first of a series of profiles featured ahead of the sixth annual NCW Community Success Summit, which IRIS (Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship) is convening in Waterville on Nov. 12. This year’s theme, “A Great Place to Come Home To,” celebrates the return of people from multi-generational families to the community. It also welcomes the contributions and successes of more recent arrivals who have chosen to make their home here. For more information about the summit visit www.irisncw.org. To sample more stories about Waterville and other NCW communities, visit the Listening Post Network.


By Phylicite Chitwood and Cithlali Chavez

Marsha Burke Ashley graduated from Waterville High School in 1994. She, like most young people, wanted to leave the small community she grew up in.

Mrs. Ashley mentioned, “I wanted to see the big cities and see the world.” Later on, she met her husband Ryan. Once they started to form a family, Marsha and her husband believed that “Waterville was a great place to raise a family.” That’s when Marsha decided to move back.

She admitted that one thing she would brag about Waterville to outsiders is “the people, because in Waterville everyone supports each other and it’s the fact that we all help each other out.”

Today Marsha is living in the Waterville community with her husband Ryan and her three daughters Claire, Julia and Elsa. She’s working as the third grade teacher at Waterville Elementary.