Partners for growth
We have identified and trained the best instructional coaches in the industry, experts in both content and student-centered learning, so you can be sure you’re getting the support you need to meet your goals quickly while building capacity that continues long after the coaching has ended.
As non-evaluative thought partners, our coaches provide the encouragement, expertise, and motivation needed to try new things, shift mindsets, and reflect on results, all in service of continuous learning and greater student achievement.
Highly Selective Process
It takes a unique skill set to be a BetterLesson coach.
In addition to content mastery, all of our applicants are assessed on their abilities in building relationships, flexible thinking, curiosity, efficiency, goal setting, and cultivating a growth mindset.
We seek out high-performing, skilled educators and then assess them to ensure they have the coaching skills and knowledge base to make a real impact on the educators they will be supporting.
After vigorous training, all of our coaches continue to participate in ongoing professional development. They meet with their own coaches to reflect on successes, challenges, and new strategies to help their teachers succeed in the classroom.
Additionally, all coaches meet bi-weekly in small groups to compare notes and seek each other’s input. In this way, our partners get the best of both worlds: a hand-selected coach and advice from a cohort of experts.
We truly believe that the best way to ensure continuous growth is through continuous coaching. It’s why we have the best coaches in the field, and it’s why they will be even better every year.
Meet Some of Our Coaches
Afrika Afeni Mills is an Instructional Coach who works with teachers, coaches and administrators to transform their instructional practices. In addition to co-designing and co-facilitating the Required Reading Reconsidered and Interrogating the Curriculum workshop sessions at national conferences, Afrika has been featured on the Truth for Teachers podcast discussing the school-to-prison pipeline, and will be featured on an upcoming episode of the Teaching While White podcast about white fragility. Afrika holds an M.Ed. in Elementary Teaching from Boston College Lynch School of Education, is part of the inaugural Boston Educators for Equity cohort and has served as a mentor for Boston Educators Collaborative Teacher Leaders.
Afrika believes that all teachers can be motivated, engaged, dynamic educators and leaders when provided with the supports needed to create student-centered, culturally responsive learning environments that inspire wonder and creativity and nurture diversity, equity and inclusion.
Daniel Guerrero is an instructional coach who works with teachers, coaches, and administrators to grow their student-centered practices. Daniel believes in education as a means of increasing social justice and equity, and supporting educators to make shifts that increasingly personalize learning. He supports educators to create systems and structures that make these shifts sustainable and replicable.
He was featured as a Master Teacher by BetterLesson in the Blended Learning Project in 2014 while teaching in Liberty City in Miami, FL.
Romain Bertrand is an Instructional Coach who works with teachers, coaches and school leaders to shift their practices to create more student-centered learning experiences. Romain believes that it’s by providing quality personalized professional development to educators that we will create truly personalized learning experiences for all students. As one of the nation’s first Multi-Classroom Leaders, he spearheaded Ranson IB middle school’s creation of a math blended learning curriculum.
This program drew national attention and led his school to be named by Tom Vander Ark one of 38 schools to watch for innovative and impactful blended learning approaches. His blog posts were published by multiple national publications such as EdSurge and EducationNext.
He holds a BA in Mathematics from the University of Avignon in France, and an MA in Educational Leadership from Queens University of Charlotte.
Monica is an instructional coach who works with teachers to support them in taking risks in their classroom that lead to instructional shifts and student growth. After being in the classroom for 19 years, Monica knows that teachers thrive when they have time to reflect and collaborate with other educators; teachers need to know that they can be vulnerable as they learn new things. Monica advocates for teachers through blogging for Education Week and Education Post as well as presenting various content through webinars, workshops, and keynote speeches. Her “4 Things Great Principals Don’t Do” was ranked the number one most read and shared Edweek post for 2017.
Monica is the 2014 Texas State Teacher of the Year and uses that platform to support public education. Monica holds a MA in English from The University of Memphis and is currently pursuing a doctorate in education at Walden University.
Juan Matos Jr. joined BetterLesson after 12 years as a History and Literature teacher. His teaching experience in public, charter and private schools in Boston, New York and the Dominican Republic has enabled him to connect with teachers, students, families and administrators from a multitude of backgrounds.
Juan comes from a family with a long lineage of educators passionate about justice and equality. Aside from his role as a teacher, Juan has served as a family advocate, football coach and immigration advocate.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Tufts University.
Cheryl Belknap is an Instructional Coach working with teachers, coaches and school leaders, to build student-centered learning environments. Cheryl is passionate about education as a force for good. Cheryl is proud of the impact she has had on the lives of countless students. She intervened with students left behind as non-readers, extended an experiential marine science program to serve all students and led a teacher education program throughout southeastern Massachusetts. She is particularly proud of the Master Teacher Project at BetterLesson.
Cheryl is a certified Massachusetts educator and administrator, with an SEI endorsement, with additional certifications as a Master Mentor and teacher evaluator, in Responsive Classroom, and Orton-Gillingham. She led an urban district to shift to Common Core and Next Generation standards.
As a district leader, Cheryl developed and led a number of effective school reform measures. Cheryl holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Bridgewater State University.
My BetterLesson coach introduced me to accountable talk. The impact this strategy had in my classroom was still being felt a couple of years later. The students from my math class retained and used their skills as speakers and listeners and applied this to their other classes. The 8th-grade teachers were so surprised when they posed a question and the students began speaking about the topic using the strategies taught to them in 6th grade.
My coach was knowledgeable about what was available and how to implement the use of technology in the classroom. And, she provided both a listening ear and appropriate guidance as I talked through some of my issues. I found her feedback instructive and constructive!
My coach helped me to realize that it is ok to break a task down into more manageable and realistic pieces because I tend to go “whole hog” and get overwhelmed in the process.
All of the feedback I’ve received about the coaching (including my own) has been extremely positive. I know this personalized PD is unique, and teachers who have previous never enjoyed their in-house PD are raving about it.
Our students have multiple teachers in one subject, attend when they can, and work at their own pace. Our teachers are part time and are spread over 11 campuses. We needed a customized professional development program for our teachers that could be delivered on-line at the teacher’s convenience. Our goal was to improve students achievement as measured by our state standardized tests. BetterLesson leaders and coaches listened to us to understand the nature and specific needs of our school.
The partnership was established because of the quality and scope of services offered by BetterLesson, including the adaptability and customization to meet district and TSL grant needs. The largest benefit has been the coaching and personalized support that allows exposure to resources and instructional methods.
- Michelle ScadeInstructional Coach, Woodridge School District 68, IL
- Barry CheslerGrade 9-12 Teacher — Schechter School of Long Island, NY
- Kim AinsworthGrade 3-5 Teacher — Weems Elementary School, VA
- Aaron KaswellTeacher/Program Lead — Middle School 88, NY
- Scott GordonRegional Director for Instruction, Foothills Education Charter High School, GA
- Amalia LopezTSL Project Manager, Lindsay Unified School District, CA