Staff Spotlight: Angela Egan
Posted on 04/11/2024
Angela Egan in classroom

Staff Spotlight: Angela Egan

Angela Egan is an instructional coach at Silver Lane Elementary School who uses her teaching background and passion for working with children to support the educators in her building. She focuses on keeps student learning at the center of everything she does to ensure both teachers and students have what they need to succeed.

Silver Lane Principal Sarah Chmielecki said “Two words come to mind when I think of Ms. Egan: passion and dedication. She is committed to making sure that all students learn at Silver Lane School.”

In addition to her instructional work, Egan is also involved with Silver Lane families outside of the school building. Egan is a part of the Learner Engagement and Attendance Program (LEAP) and meets with parents and guardians to discuss how to keep children coming to school and engaging with their school work every day.

“As a LEAP ambassador, she is always in our community building those strong relationships, visiting with families, communicating with families,” explained Chmielecki. “You can see the through line from the work that she does with our families and how that trickles right down to student learning in the classroom. She is just such a trusted member of our community and we are so lucky to have Ms. Egan at Silver Lane.”

Learn more about Egan in the Q&A below.

Tell us about your teaching and career journey. What lead you to your current position of Instructional Coach?

Egan: In about 2011, I began my teaching journey at Langford Elementary School here in East Hartford where I taught kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. Then after several years, I decided to stay home with my own children. To get back into the classroom, I took a virtual teaching position at a school in New Haven. It was a one-year virtual teaching position during the COVID year, and then right after that is when I decided to come back full time.

I think it was 2021 when I took on the role as acceleration specialist here at Silver Lane School. So I came back to East Hartford, which I was really excited about because I love East Hartford. I think it's a great district. It's very data driven and student centered, so I was really happy to be back here in East Hartford. Then after two years as an acceleration specialist, I took on the role as an instructional coach here at Silver Lane, where I get to support and collaborate with classroom teachers. It's been a great ride so far.

What does a day in the life of an Instructional Coach look like?

Egan: It's all about supporting classroom teachers and collaborating with them. So on a typical day, it will look like myself and the other coach going into classrooms. Sometimes we're working side by side with classroom teachers on a lesson, other times we’re working with students and helping them, making sure they're using a variety of strategies.

We have a schedule kind of laid out for the day of the classrooms that we'll be visiting and our teachers know ahead of time which lessons we’re going to be coming in for, so that we can just collaborate with them, talk to them. We may be going in during an acceleration block, or maybe we're going in during an IM lesson and just supporting classroom teachers, making sure that they have the right resources, making sure they have their materials and different things that they need to deliver and implement their lessons.

We keep the students at the center of everything that we do. Everything I do as an instructional coach is driven by a student-centered goal to ensure that all of our students can accelerate to reach their full potential.

What else should people know about your role?

Egan: This position is very data driven. Every Tuesday we have grade level meetings where we meet with classroom teachers and we support them. We discuss and we talk about upcoming lessons. Sometimes we do lesson deep dives, sometimes we're going over protocols, some days we're just talking about what structured literacy looks like and how to deliver targeted, personalized instruction to all of our students. Then on Thursdays we have our data team meetings and so we meet, we analyze data, we talk about student growth, we discuss scaffolds and how we can support all of our students to make sure that they are accelerating and moving in the right direction in terms of literacy and math instruction.

That's something I'm extremely passionate about. I truly believe that every child can learn to read with systematic, explicit instruction. And so with a shift in literacy over the last couple of years across the country, it's just supporting teachers, helping them understand what structured literacy looks like. East Hartford is always ahead of the game. We've been doing this for several years now, but for some teachers it's new. It's a new way of thinking, it's a new way of delivering instruction, and so in my role I'm supporting them, helping them understand the process, helping them understand the ‘why’ behind it and just giving them the strategies and tools to support all their learners.

What makes you successful in this role? 

Egan: On a daily basis, I'm continuously reflecting on my role as an instructional coach. Having experience as a classroom teacher, I know what teachers need. I know what the type of support teachers want, and so at the end of the day, I'm trying to make their school day easier.

I want my work to be meaningful. I want to ensure that I am supporting classroom teachers and staff in a way that's meaningful not only for them, but for their students as well. And so I kind of take my experience as a mom, my experience as the classroom teacher, my experience working as an acceleration specialist, I kind of take all of those areas and just think about how I can best support the classroom teachers and the students based on those needs.

You’re also involved with the Silver Lane community as a LEAP ambassador. Tell us about the work you do outside of your instructional role.

Egan: I am a strong believer in building a strong rapport with not only your students, but your families. And so last year, I know East Hartford had started the LEAP program and I was eager to become part of that program. I visit families every week and it has been an amazing experience. Just being able to get out and get into the community to communicate with families, I think it's so important that everyone feels heard, everyone feels like they're being seen, whether it's in the classroom or in the school community. And this program has given me the opportunity to learn more about our families and learn how I can best support them, how we can best support them in the classroom. It's a really great initiative that I've been able to be a part of for this past year, and I hope to continue to be able to get out there in the community and support our families because it's a team effort. We are all here to work with one another and it really strengthens that home school-connection.

I’m also part of a little walking school bus that we started this past year to support students on their way to school. So myself and another teacher walk and pick up a couple of students, and then we walk them back to school. Then we do the same for dismissal every day. I think the ultimate goal is just to support our students and families. So that's what we're doing by making sure they get here and come here every day. We want them here to learn.

What do you like most about your job?

Egan: I am extremely passionate about literacy. I am extremely passionate about working with children. And so in this role, I am able to combine those two things and share my love of literacy and all the research I've been doing on structured literacy and the science of reading, and share that with other teachers to support them on their journey. 

I think everything I do stems from that passion and my energy comes from seeing the students’ curiosity every day in their eyes and that's what drives me on a daily basis to want to be a better coach, to want to be a better instructor.