Building a Growing, Thriving Coaching Network
A discussion with education coaching expert Brianna Hodges
Brianna Hodges is the edtech coordinator for Eanes ISD in Austin, Texas, as well as an edtech consultant and storyteller. She will be leading the FETC Coaches Summit at the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Miami this coming January.
The Coaches Summit is created to foster and build a network of coaches from across the country. Although the coaching world has seen growth in popularity, Hodges speaks to a field still in need of better numbers.
“There are 3.5 million teachers and 42,000 instructional coaches. There’s disparity there, and always will be. If you have one coach and a team of 18 basketball players [for instance], there will be some offset no matter what. But it’s easy to feel out of touch, overwhelmed or isolated as a coach because, sometimes, we’re seeing only one coach per district.”
All districts are different, and she remembers serving an entire K-12 district as a coach and traveling between multiple campuses trying to differentiate, absorb, and process in various environments. On the other side of things, areas with numerous coaches allow for more specialization between high school and elementary situations.
Through it all, Hodges remains steadfast in her belief of coaching as a key component to professional development. “Research has told us time and time again that shoulder-to-shoulder embedded professional learning, specifically through coaching, is what improves instruction the most. And it’s kind of funny given that [information], we are still hesitant to add ‘a full-time expense’ in coaches,” she adds.
Things are turning the corner, and coaching is more widespread than ever before. District leaders are starting to see the value outside the extension of a mentor or teacher. Hodges explains, “It’s about people wrapping their arms around and identifying what is meant by professional learning, and instructional coaching and how that fits into the instructional leadership team.”
She looks forward to the FETC summit as a place to jump in and explore the identification of “coach.” Increasingly the role is coming in the form of different titles, such as principal, librarian, or even media specialist. Hodges believes, regardless of title, there are fundamental areas of concentration that constitute solid coaching. “The three qualities of learning, curiosity, and storytelling are what makes a great coach. Everybody puts on their shoes differently; everybody picks out different shoes. You have to be able to do that for every person in a way that’s going to get them moving forward,” she adds.
About Brianna Hodges
Brianna Hodges is a learner, listener, leader, and storyteller. She was awarded the Texas EdTech of the Year (2017) and K12 Administrator to Watch (2018). She is the National Advisor and Spokesperson for Future Ready Instructional Coaches and serves as an edtech coordinator for Eanes ISD in Austin, Texas.
Hodges is an experienced school and district leader with a superpower for storytelling, spending 10+ years as a PR exec in a developing capacity. Brianna works with school districts across the country to transform learning for all ages and stages. Her motto: “Let’s rewrite the story of a school, provide purpose to practice, and institute innovative change.”
Brianna Hodges’ FETC 2020 EdTech Coaches Summit Tracks Presentations
- Coaching Beyond the Tools
- Implement for Impact: Beyond the Rollout
- Interactive Learning: Swiping Past Passive PD
- The Future Belongs to the Storytellers
The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC)