Ashley Smith is a 2005 graduate of Buford High School. Ashley was born to Wayne and Lea Johnson in East Ridge, Tenn. She has a brother, Matthew Johnson, who is a fellow Buford graduate. Ashley’s family moved to Buford when she was 5 years old. She attended Harmony Elementary and Lanier Middle before making the switch to Buford in the ninth grade. Ashley’s father is on the staff at First Baptist Buford and has served as the statistician for the Buford football team for years. So her family was always involved in the Buford community. Plus, Ashley said she has always loved the smaller community feel at BHS.

Ashley jumped right into life at BHS, becoming involved with numerous activities. She served on the student council during her freshman through junior years. Ashley was also a part of Musical Theatre, Chamber Chorus, National Honor Society, Beta Club and the Thespian Society. During her senior year, she was voted onto the basketball homecoming court, was first runner-up to Miss Buford and was voted “Friendliest” in the senior superlatives.

Taking academics seriously, Ashley finished her career at BHS with a 3.9 GPA. She said her favorite subject during school was history.

Two teachers had the biggest influence on her during high school. Ashley said she always loved classes taught by Dr. Tim Harris.

“I was never the best writer, but his classes were always interesting and engaging,” Ashley said.

Mrs. Kimberly Staples, the Musical Theatre director, “has always been one of my biggest supporters through high school, college and my career,” Ashley added. “She was one of the first people to hire me as a choreographer, which started me on my path to teaching full time. She also introduced me to my husband!”

BHS Alumni
Ashley Smith and her husband Bryant Smith. Photo courtesy of Ashley Smith.

After graduating from Buford High School, Ashley attended Brenau University in Gainesville. She was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, HGH Senior Honor Society, a founding member and president of the Nu Delta Alpha Dance Honor Society, was named “Most Outstanding Freshman in Dance” and “Most Outstanding Senior in Dance” during her time at Brenau. In 2009, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance and choreography.

Mrs. Staples hired Ashley to choreograph productions at Buford High School, which led her to her current position as head of the Dance Program and head coach of the Competition Dance Team at Buford High School.

When asked why she chose that profession, Ashley said, “I have a passion for dance, and I love being able to share that with my students. My greatest joy is seeing the smile on my student’s faces when they are on stage!”

Ashley lives in Flowery Branch with her husband of four years, Bryant Smith, and a black lab/retriever mix named Bobbi, who is named after former Braves legendary coach Bobby Cox (they are huge Braves fans). When not occupied with the dance program at Buford, she attends First Baptist Buford and works with the children’s ministry there, as well as Feed the Need.

Her time at Buford High School taught Ashley the importance of community and family. She continuously demonstrates her love for her family and community. She now gives back to the place that gave her so much by teaching her students a love for dance and performing. Once a Wolf, always a Wolf!


Alicia joined the North Gwinnett Voice, as the Editor, shortly after the first publication. She is a homegrown Buford native, with the southern charm and "bless your heart" included. ...

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