Instructional Leadership Coach Mike Little headshot

Take Five: Q&A with Instructional Leadership Coach Michael Little


Written by Laura Troxel

Take Five: Q&A with Instructional Leadership Coach Michael Little

Take Five is a quick-hit series highlighting the people behind Leading Educators’ mission, shining a light on the experiences they bring to our partnerships with school systems. Learn how Leading Educators can help you go further faster. 

Meet Michael Little

Meet Michael Little, a new Instructional Leadership Coach for the New York City partnership who is working with schools in the District 5 Harlem community as they implement the HMH Into Reading curriculum.

Michael began his career in education in Charlotte, North Carolina as a Teach for America corps member committed to providing an impactful, just, and joyful academic experience as a middle school history teacher. He then relocated to New York City, where he continued to make a difference in the lives of students in the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and Bushwick communities of Brooklyn, New York as an ELA teacher and school leader—igniting his students’ personal passion and love of literacy. He has been an Instructional Coach and mentor, Dean of Students, Academic Dean of Instruction, and Principal Fellow.

What inspired you to become an educator?

“Growing up, I didn’t have too many male figures in the classroom who looked like me. And I really just wanted to have the opportunity to be a servant leader and figure for students who did look like me. I wanted to see students have those “aha moments” and really ignite their fire and passion for learning. I want to make sure that our schools and our students have an opportunity to attain an education that will allow them to achieve their wildest dreams.”

What does a typical day look like for an Instructional Leadership Coach?

“As an instructional leadership coach, I guide teachers and school leaders to enhance their instructional practices so they can tailor their approach to successfully implementing the HMH Into Reading ELA curriculum. On a typical day, I work closely with school leaders to increase teacher-leader capacity, establish clear instructional goals, find opportunities to model instructional practices during moments of side-by-side coaching, and address academic gaps noted from data or observation rounds, to further collaborate on the creation of improvement plans that will increase student learning outcomes.

This helps teachers by allowing them to see a model, have access to a consistent and tailored coaching experience with a narrowed focus for improvement, and have an opportunity to engage in continuous professional learning.  When teachers can collaborate, share best practices, and engage in continuous learning, it means students will have greater access to engaging and fair learning environments with well-planned instructional lessons and opportunities to improve their confidence and overall academic achievement.”

What fuels your passion for education?

“I’m motivated by knowing that I’ve had the opportunity to expand my impact as a leader in education—to help build and sustain the conditions, teaching, and leadership that we all know schools and our communities should have. Our students and our families deserve it.  With so much happening in our world, the obstacles to achieving this must be eliminated with a sense of urgency.

As an instructional leadership coach, it feels great to know that I have the opportunity to build and maintain strong relationships with teachers, school administrators, students, and stakeholders. This helps by creating a more receptive environment for coaching and fostering growth and improvement among educators, ultimately benefiting the students and families that we have the privilege to serve.”

What is one of your proudest accomplishments as a teacher and school leader?

One of my proudest achievements is simply being a Black male educator, serving urban communities where most of my students look like me, nurturing them, and inspiring them to achieve their dreams.

In this work, it’s so wonderful to see the amazing academic and social growth of my students that they were able to achieve under my guidance and my passion for this work as their ELA teacher and later in my career as a school leader. I still keep in contact with many of my former students to this day, and having them simply recall the impact that I’ve been able to have on their lives is one of the most rewarding things to hear and see as an educator.”

Why did you decide to join Leading Educators?

“I joined Leading Educators because I wanted to be part of a team of passionate educators like myself who are committed to ensuring that all students have access to high-quality, fair, inclusive, and joyful academic experiences, allowing them to acquire the keys to unlock any and every door of opportunity possible.”

What do you like doing outside of work?

“I enjoy traveling, music, working on voiceover projects, brunch, and spending time with family and friends.”

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