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Learning from coaches: Supporting educators in a virtual world

Presenters: Joellen Killion, Courtney Simpson, Ebony Flott, Melissa Cournia, & Michelle Torres

The role of coaches at the district and school levels is multifaceted and complex. Among their many roles, coaches support and facilitate educator learning teams; model and co-teach lessons; provide feedback and reflection opportunities for teachers; research curricular materials to support instruction, and collaborate with the leadership team on strategic efforts.

Now that we are working and leading in a virtual environment, join us for an exploration of how coaches are traversing the challenges of distance professional learning, and remaining connected to the teachers they support.

Participants will:

  • Learn strategies and gain tools for supporting teachers in a virtual environment;
  • Address growth and development strategies for coaches; and
  • Share questions and advice among a community of learners.

Presenters

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Joellen Killion is a senior advisor to Learning Forward and previously served as the organization’s deputy executive director. Killion has over 30 years of experience in planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of professional learning at the school, system, and state/provincial levels.

Instructional Coach at Gwinnett County Public Schools | + posts

Courtney Simpson is an instructional coach and positive behavior interventions and supports coach at Lilburn Elementary school. As an instructional coach, she facilitates professional development and collaborative learning teams. She engages in individual coaching cycles and focuses on continued quality improvement for her school. As a positive behavior interventions and supports coach, she works within the framework of positive behavior interventions to create a culture and climate at her school that is conducive to high levels of student achievement. Simpson has facilitated district-level professional developments and presented at Georgia Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports conferences. She has a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction; she is certified to teach gifted and ESOL students. Simpson has been a student, teacher, and now an instructional leader in Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Instructional Coach at Gwinnett County Public Schools | + posts

Ebony Flott is an instructional coach at Lilburn Elementary School in Gwinnett County, Georgia. As an instructional coach, she partners with teachers in grades 3-5, supports collaborative learning teams, and designs and delivers job-embedded professional learning. Additionally, she serves on school, cluster, and district instructional leadership teams. She has an Education Specialist’s degree in curriculum and instruction plus teaching endorsements in Gifted and ESOL. Her teaching and coaching experience spans grades 2-5 and includes all subjects.

Instructional Coach at Bismarck Public Schools | + posts

Melissa Cournia is an instructional coach and reading intervention teacher at Bismarck High School. As an instructional coach, she provides one-on-one coaching, supports professional learning communities, and designs and facilitates professional learning. In addition, she serves on school, district, and state leadership teams. Cournia assisted in the development of her district’s secondary literacy cohort and North Dakota’s literacy plan. She has facilitated the work of school improvement committees and district problem-solving teams. She is Nationally Board Certified and has a master's degree in middle-level education; her teaching experience ranges across math and literacy grades 6-12. Further professional experience includes teaching, coaching, and professional development positions at the Red River Valley Writing Project and the International Music Camp.

Instructional Coach at Long Beach Unified School District | + posts

Michelle Torres is currently a K-5 district math coach in the office of curriculum, instruction, and professional development in Long Beach Unified School District, the fourth largest in California. As an instructional coach, she trains teachers and administrators by providing professional development in high quality classroom practices as well as the elements of pedagogy desired across all LBUSD classrooms. Torres strategically partners with high-need school sites and builds effective instructional teams that embody a culture of collective efficacy, with a focus on closing the achievement gap.

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