Meet the Teacher Excellence Program's Leadership and Instructional Coaches

The Instructional Coaches are required to have a Masters’ degree, a minimum of six years of experience as early childhood education classroom Teachers and possess early childhood education content expertise with the ability to teach adult learners. In addition to developing and facilitating observation and research-based professional development, their primary work is to coach, mentor, model for and provide technical support and assistance to classroom Teachers designed to increase their classroom practices.

Porter-Leath's Teacher Excellence Program also has a specialized focus on social-emotional training for early childhood educators. In order to perform at their best, early childhood educators must understand young children's ability to regulate their emotions and to relate to the world. Children's social environment can affect their classroom behavior and academic performance long after preschool, so it is critical that all educators are able to model responsible emotional management, decision making and relationship skills.

Dr. Kelley Nichols, IMH-E

Vice President of Teacher Excellence

Kelley Nichols is an educator and speaker who specializes in working with other educators to find innovative and sustainable ways to transform teaching and learning. Her areas of expertise include designing innovative learning experiences, professional learning and community building. Kelley graduated in 2014 from Nova Southeastern University with her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and in 2019 from St. Thomas University with her Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Management.

During her 20+ years in education, Kelley has taught infants/toddlers, preschool, and elementary school. In 2014, she transitioned into charter management in a leadership role, assisting with teacher professional development and growth that would directly affect student academic outcomes. Currently, Kelley serves as the Vice President of Teacher Excellence for Porter-Leath. The Teacher Excellence Program works to train over 300 teachers each year on an understanding of proven teaching skills that drive student achievement and how to build a culture of excellence.

Kelley is passionate about the children of Memphis and the work of empowering teachers.

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