Read to be Ready Coach of the Month
- October Coach of the Month: Margaret DeLoach
Margaret DeLoachMy name is Margaret DeLoach, and I have been an educator for 19 years. I have had the pleasure of teaching elementary grades preschool through fourth grade during my tenure. The majority of my classroom experience has been teaching kindergarten, where my passion for literacy was fostered. For the last three school years, I have been serving as Gibson County Special School District’s early grades Literacy Coach. It is in this current position that I have been given excellent opportunities to develop my craft of coaching literacy teachers.
The Read to be Ready Coaching Network is proving to be one of those excellent opportunities for professional development. The network has developed comprehensive, high-quality, content specific, and directly applicable training. The network not only gathers coaches from many districts and encourages collaboration, but it has established regional coaches to support district coaches like myself. The relationship with my regional coach, Ashley Kelley, is the key to increasing the success of the Read to be Ready initiative in my school district. By partnering with Ashley, we are planning, reflecting, and collaborating with early grades teachers with anticipated success.
Being that we are in the beginning stages of the Read to be Ready initiative, I am encouraged by the feedback I am hearing from the teachers I am coaching. The interactive read alouds have proven to be a great start in opening the door to strengthening early literacy in my school district. We are focusing on setting high expectations for students with intentional support for teachers. Through the strategies Read to be Ready is focusing on, coupled with the coaching components, I am confident that our participation in this state initiative will yield positive results.
- November Coach of the Month: Tiffany Marshall
Tiffany MarshallMy name is Tiffany Marshall, and I have been a teacher in the Cocke County School System for 21 years and an educator for 22 years. I have been married for 21 years and have twin daughters that are getting ready to turn sixteen. My favorite coaching moment was when I went into a second grade classroom to observe an interactive read aloud and I saw the children’s excitement on their faces when they heard the book read. The vocabulary helped the students develop a deeper knowledge of the content that was being presented to them. It is rewarding to see students learn in a way that is exciting and fun for them. I enjoy being a Read to be Ready coach and working with my teachers. I have been blessed to work with such a caring group of teachers in the Cocke County School System. I find it an honor to have been chosen the November Coach of the month for Read to Be Ready. It has always been my dream to help children succeed in everything that they do, and this coaching job provides me the opportunity to touch many different students’ lives.
- December Coach of the Month: Dara Wade
Dara WadeEducational BackgroundBS in Journalism, University of Tennessee, KnoxvilleMS in Elementary Education, University of Tennessee, KnoxvilleEdS in Administration and Supervision, Lincoln Memorial UniversityI am currently in my 19th year with the Anderson County School System. The entire length of my tenure has been with Norris Elementary School. I have been a kindergarten, first and second grade teacher, a literacy coach, and now I’m in my fourth year as a K-5 academic coach."The future depends on what we do in the present." Mahatma GhandiThis quote represents my sense of urgency in early childhood literacy. The greatest impact we can have on making a better world for all of us is to spend our time and energy teaching our children how to be literate citizens. In our county, we have a motto, "Every student, every day." Everyone who walks through our school doors every morning matters. What we do with those students does make a difference. We have to make every moment matter.My impact may no longer be felt directly on a classroom of 20 students, but if I can help improve the teaching of the teachers in my building, then my impact on lives totals many more. We do important work. We have to bring our best to every teacher and every student, every day. If we do that, we will have a brighter future.
My Favorite Coaching Story
There are so many moments that have had an impact on me personally. My favorite times are spent modeling for teachers so I can fulfill that teaching need with students. I love mentoring teachers and seeing them grow. I have found a passion for quality professional development. But, the best part of my job is getting to constantly learn more about literacy and sharing that valuable information with my teachers at my school.
It seems I have a new light bulb moment every year. My 2016-17 aha has been moving from teacher-centered classrooms vs. student-centered classrooms. Until teachers make that shift to putting students at the center of every decision they make, progress in the classroom will be minimal. The evidence of student learning is on the top of desks, not at the front of the room.
I also have a favorite star-struck moment. This past October, I attended a coaching institute at Columbia University's Teachers College. During lunch I was a little overwhelmed by the process in the Columbia University cafeteria. Lucy Calkins came to my rescue and ordered my lunch for me. Only my teacher-nerd friends could appreciate my awe.
- February Coach of the Month: Allison Kruse
This is my 27th year in education. I have been a teacher in grades one, two, four, and five at Oakmont Elementary and Centennial Elementary. I worked as director of education at The Renaissance Center for five years, during which time I taught computer networking for Dickson County High School, and directed The Learning Lab. I have been an interventionist, a reading recovery teacher, and an RTI² manager at Centennial Elementary. Currently, I am the instructional coach for Dickson Elementary School and The Discovery School. I have been in this position for two years.
The Read to be Ready network has given me a renewed excitement for the future of literacy instruction in our schools. This is the most focused and comprehensive literacy initiative we have had, and the shifts that are happening in our classrooms are real and lasting. Giving authentic literature the chance to affect our students on a deep, personal level by revisiting texts that are purposely aligned has resulted in elevated learning and knowledge for our students. Networking with my peer coaches and designing professional development sessions as a team has helped me grow as a coach, and it gives me a great appreciation for my colleagues and my profession. Having focused coaching conversations with my coach, Kim Daugherty, has given me a new insight into my own coaching practices and has helped me choose strategies that have been effective with teachers.
It is very special when I receive text messages with pictures of student work, because my teachers cannot wait to share them with me! Seeing a kindergartener sound spell the word “embarrassed” in describing a character in The Mitten (He is MBRST), or seeing students make their own glossaries is exciting to the teacher and to me! When a teacher announces that this is the last day we will revisit the book, and the class lets out a loud moan of disappointment, we know we’re making connections.
- March Coach of the Month: Sue Lynn
B.A. Social Work: University of Memphis
M.A. in Teaching: University of Memphis
My career as an educator began with six years at Presbyterian Day School in Memphis—a private all boys’ school—where I taught pre-K, kindergarten and second grade. Next came 17 years in the public school system in Shelby County as an educator at Farmington Elementary School in Germantown. While a part of the Farmington family, I taught kindergarten and grades one, three, and four. I also had the honor of being a mentoring coach for new teachers.
I “retired” at the end of the 2015-16 school year. At the beginning of the current school year (2016-17), I began my 120-day position with Bartlett City Schools, as their Read to Be Ready coach, based at Ellendale Elementary School. It is a dream position because it fulfills my passions for both reading instruction and mentoring teachers!
I couldn’t pick just one favorite quote, so I chose the top two that best reflect my experiences as a member of the Read to Be Ready network:
“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” —Edmund Burke
“If you want kids to want to read then read amazing books aloud EVERY single day.” —Simply Inspired Teaching blog by Kari Yates
Favorite Coaching Story:
My favorite story thus far took place this past January in a second grade classroom. The class discussion began as designed in the lesson plan—comparing the characters of Molly from Molly’s Pilgrim and Ruby from The Story of Ruby Bridges. What did not go as planned was the depth of discussion led by the students into where both characters’ fathers had worked (relevant to major events in their families’ lives and their need to move from one city to another), and into whether Molly’s last name was ever given in Molly’s Pilgrim (which was a conversation spurred by a single student carefully reading additional information about this book and discovering its connection to a real woman named Molly). The lesson plan was built upon challenging the students in their understanding of two characters from two different texts. This would pass as rigor. Where the students then took the lesson, increased the rigor through a deeper understanding of what they had read, and through their own engaging student leadership.
Even more powerful to me was the realization that, through the use of read aloud discussions, these students had been provided with the opportunity to develop and practice the skills required of civil debate. What I witnessed was students sharing not only their own personal opinions but listening to and considering the thoughts of others. The students ‘hijacked’ the lesson and took it to a higher level, and they did it enthusiastically and with collaboration, all because of two books they had read—powerful.