Coaching for the Future


KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec 4, 2017) — Eddie Robinson, John Wooden, Bill Walsh, Phil Jackson, K.C. Jones,  Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, Bobby Bowden, John Thompson, Red Auerbach. These are some of the most legendary coaches in modern American sports. While their accomplishments are well documented, i’m sure they would all tell you they could not have done it without having phenomenal players that help push and challenge them to be better each day.

“Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you.”
– John Wooden

As a first year KSU iTeach technology coach I understood I was entering a realm different than my previous 11 years of experience in public education, however there is one central theme that has carried me through each challenge and that is to remain focused on the students.  In this new role not only do we focus on the students (whom no matter what your title or position is should remain priority #1) but our charge is also to empower, collaborate, model, build capacity, and partner with teachers and staff as well.  ​

coachingWhat those aforementioned legendary coaches possessed was a keen eye for talent.  Upon entering Randolph Elementary, my first order of business was to “seek out the talent” so to speak. Enter Mr. Darius Williams.  Mr. Williams is a 2nd year 4th grade teacher who was brought to my attention at the start of the school year by Principal Miley for his propensity to integrate technology in the classroom.  Upon meeting him  the first thing that stood out was his thirst for deeper understanding of not only personalized learning and technology integration but also how to navigate and survive the grind of being a teacher leader. Being a novice in my role as well, I realized not only was I helping him learn the tricks of the trade, he also served as a reminder of my purpose and passion for why I entered education to begin with, after a 3rd career switch.  ​

Mr. Williams has all the qualities that almost any coach desires: passion, intelligence, desire, work ethic, perseverance, and most of all HIGH CHARACTER.  Upon entering his classroom the first thing that stood out was the student centered nature of the learning environment . Students are not afraid to ask questions or request activities tailored toward their likes or interests.  Mr. Williams’ classroom atmosphere also does not possess a restrictive vibe in which self expression, creativity, and eccentricity are not rewarded.

Personalized learning and technology within the classroom are two of the most fast-paced, continuously evolving elements in modern education. With that being said the future requires educators on all levels who are able to adapt to this pace while holding true to some fundamental classic foundations of great teaching.  Mr. Williams understands that when used properly technology enhances personalized learning and assists with creating lessons tailormade to their learning styles. 

While I would never label myself in the same category as the great coaches above,  I do take pride in being able to work alongside stars in the making. I am honored to play a small role in serving and assisting in the continual growth process of some phenomenal educators.  I am also extremely humbled and thankful for the many teachers like Mr. Williams that keep me grounded, motivated, and focused on my passion for educating and helping students achieve their potential through personalized learning.  

-Justin Simmons 
KSU iTeach