Instructional Coach

New staff member improves education for North students


photo by Stephanie Whisler

Grace Altenhofen

The 2017-18 school year saw a new face in the hallways of SM North: Laura Brogdon, the instructional coach.

Brogdon graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education mathematics before returning to school for her master’s in curriculum and instruction.

“I loved teaching, but I wanted to do something more,” Brogdon said. “I wanted to make a difference for a whole building of students, not just the 150 I taught.”

A position where she could effect change in a whole building opened up this year. The position of instructional coach is not new to the district, but it was just last year that the decision was made to hire one instructional coach per school.

“Prior to last year, there was one curriculum (instructional) coach for the whole district,” Associate Principal David Ewers said. “She was being stretched thin, so the district decided that each school needed their own.”

Instructional coaches act as a support system for teachers, creating lesson plans and sitting in on classes to help improve the way students are taught. After the district’s decision, four new instructional coach positions were opened in the Shawnee Mission high schools.

“I didn’t know a position like this existed,” Brogdon said. “I work with teachers to develop activities that increase student engagement.”

Since being hired at North, she has worked with the counseling department and administration to launch programs such as Career Plan and Edgenuity.

“She’s been a huge resource for us,” counselor Brad Hunt said. “She’s a bridge between the counselors, teachers, and administrators.”

Though she works mostly with staff, Brogdon emphasizes that the goal is ultimately to help students.

“We’re trying to make learning fun and engaging,” she said. “I want kids to know that I’m a really fun person and I’m always happy to chat with students.”