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Couples’ Therapy: How to Overcome Difficulties in Building the Admin/Coach Relationship

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 113C

Participate and share: Interactive session
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Instructional Design Coach
Forward Edge
Maggie Harris is an Instructional Design Coach at Forward Edge. Prior to this role, Maggie taught middle school English Language Arts at an urban charter school in Columbus, Ohio where she still resides. Now, she works as a coach in a Pk-12 district serving over 3,000 students. She is passionate about helping teachers create engaging and equitable lessons that leverage technology. She has presented at both OETC (Ohio Educational Technology Conference) and ISTE22. Outside of work, Maggie plays sand volleyball and soccer and enjoys baking.
Instructional Design Coach
Forward Edge
As an Instructional Design Coach at Forward Edge, Lisa Kuhn is transforming lives with her down-to-earth collaborative style that engages educators in the discovery of strategies that can lead to more efficient productivity and student success, all while enjoying what they are doing. With a background in French education and Reading, she thrives on the variety and challenge of working with educators at all grade levels and in all content areas, as well as with staff and administration across the district. When not coaching, Lisa enjoys the great outdoors, as well as working on small home improvement projects.

Session description

Join us “on the couch” as we explore ways to overcome the difficulties that coaches and administrators experience as they begin their coaching journey. You'll hear about the frustrations of an administrator and a coach, discuss benefits and learn strategies to build a partnership by hearing specific examples.

Purpose & objective

As technology coaches become more and more prevalent, it is important that administrators understand how to utilize their coach in order for him or her to truly be effective. Participants will be able to define why a clear admin/coach partnership is essential and will leave the session with strategies to build their admin/coach relationship. They will also leave with step-by-step examples of how the coach can be leveraged to help the administrator achieve building or district goals.

The session will begin with the “therapy” session of an admin and of a coach. Each of them will share common frustrations they have. Following that opening, we will discuss why it is essential to have a strong admin/coach relationship. We will then share specific strategies to build that partnership before engaging participants in a Challenges jamboard . Finally, participants will receive and hear examples of successful admin/coach partnerships and how those relationships positively impacted student learning and school culture.

Participants will have access to all of the resources included in our presentation and any templates we use for our strategies. Participants will be able to participate throughout the presentation, both in small/large groups and in digital platforms, if they desire. There will also be opportunities for participants to reflect on their own practice and on what they learned during the session. Participants will end the session by completing a survey at the end of the presentation.

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Maggie and Lisa will ask participants to raise their hands if they have ever had any of those thoughts shown in the video. Next, Maggie and Lisa will introduce the benefits of having a strong admin/coach relationship through a Google Slideshow presentation. Next, on a collaborative board, such as a Google Jamboard, administrators will add challenges administrators face throughout the school year such as planning year long professional development. Then, Maggie and Lisa will lead a conversation about how coaches can be leveraged to help administrators solve these challenges.

After the brainstorm session, Maggie and Lisa will provide specific strategies for building that relationship such as having monthly check-in meetings with the coach and administrator. They will also provide participants with resources to continue their growth in cultivating their admin/coach relationship. Participants will be able to also share their strategies if it is not already mentioned.

Lastly, Maggie and Lisa will share examples of positive experiences they have had working with their administrators and how they have benefited student learning. Finally, participants will reflect on how they can improve their admin/coach relationship and create a goal for themselves. Finally, participants will complete a feedback form providing Lisa and Maggie with Feedback.

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Supporting research

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Session specifications

Coaching & mentoring
Skill level:
Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Principals/head teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices required
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
ISTE Standards:
For Coaches:
Change Agent
  • Create a shared vision and culture for using technology to learn and accelerate transformation through the coaching process.
  • Establish trusting and respectful coaching relationships that encourage educators to explore new instructional strategies.
For Education Leaders:
Visionary Planner
  • Engage education stakeholders in developing and adopting a shared vision for using technology to improve student success, informed by the learning sciences.