By Veda McClain
Kimberly Mucker Johnson is a goal clarity coach (instructional coach) with the Jefferson County public schools.
Johnson spends half of her work time at Waggener High School and the other half at the school district office. This is her 14th year as an educator. In a recent interview, Johnson shared how her unique position allows her to reach out to and learn from a wide range of teachers.
Talk about your job as a literacy instructional coach. Exactly what do you do? How does your work impact your school? District?
“My job as a literacy resource teacher involves being a support to teachers. I serve teachers by being present at PLC (professional learning community) meetings, engaging teachers in lesson studies, offering resources based on the needs of students, teaching small groups of students who need interventions, developing lesson plans for interventions, and planning and conducting professional development.
“I have a unique position because I divide my time between a high school and the district, so I am able to support teachers on both a small and large scale. This affords me an opportunity pull the best resources from multiple places for others to consider implementing in their schools and classrooms.”
What professional learning experience has impacted you the most? What did you learn that challenged you to change your practices?
“I am a person who learns best by doing, so the professional learning that has impacted me the most is being an EQuIP reviewer with Achieve. Being a reviewer requires me to score lessons and units from all over the nation. After I score lessons/units, then I work with a group of highly skilled educators to come to a consensus on the final score.
“The professional conversations challenge and stretch me. I may have some insights and perspectives about a lesson and then after engaging in speaking and listening, I feel that I have learned something new or something that I didn’t think of on my own. Effective learning practices are not reserved for the students we serve, but they work for adults also.”
What direct impact does your work have on student achievement? How do you know?
“My intervention work that I have done with seniors directly impacts student achievement and I know because I see their scores on assessments when they are trying to reach benchmarks.”
As a literacy instructional coach, you are probably a reader. What professional book have you read that influenced you the most?
“The professional book that I have read recently that influences me the most is ‘Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action!’ As a resource teacher, it is imperative to have a repertoire of strategies to support teachers. This book taught me that in everything that I do, I should always start with “Why?” If I am able to articulate to my colleagues why we need to take action in a particular direction, then I have won half the battle!”