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.

TaWanda Payton, M.Ed.,IMH-E®

Instructional Coach Manager

TaWanda Payton is Porter-Leath's Teacher Excellence Program Instructional Coach Manager under the direction of the VP of Early Childhood Services. TaWanda provides direct supervision to Instructional Coaches and supports their work using data to help guide teachers toward evidence-based instruction that engages, empowers, enriches students, and helps them grow academically. TaWanda's educational experiences have allowed her to collaborate with a diverse group of people to meet the common goal of increasing student achievement and the well-being of children six weeks and beyond when given a positive learning environment, strong and knowledgeable leadership, a committed and focused educational team, an encouraging community, and a supportive family. All of which Porter-Leath possesses.

Her shared passion for education and community advocacy led her to years of service with Early Head Start, Head Start, and public school programs. TaWanda holds an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor's in Behavioral Science, and a Master's in Educational Leadership. She is a Teachstone Certified Infant, Preschool CLASS Observer, Teachstone Certified Toddler CLASS Certified Trainer, and a LENA Grow Certified Coach. She also has earned both a Infant Mental Health Endorsement (IMH-E) and a CDA Professional Development Specialist (PDS) credential.

TaWanda is passionate about providing a holistic approach to early childhood education and fostering cross-cultural, developmentally appropriate, and culturally responsive learning experiences for all students.