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College of Education

Coaching Academy positions educator for next career step

LaKeyseah Brennan says experience gave her tools to make a real difference

LaKeyseah Brennan is driven by a mission to help others. After graduating with an English degree, she planned to start a nonprofit to prepare incarcerated individuals for future employment. A former colleague suggested she might be well-suited to a career in education — where she could guide students toward their goals instead of beginning negative cycles.

“I began a master’s degree in teaching, and I really developed a passion for education,” says Brennan. “I was also tutoring elementary students, but I realized I was best suited to teaching high school students. I’ve loved it since!”

Brennan hopes to channel her success in the classroom to helping her fellow educators rediscover their own love of education.

“My passion has grown beyond helping students,” says Brennan. “Some educators spend more than twenty years in the classroom, but our field is constantly changing. I want to help educators manage those transitions sustainably. Sometimes the fire we begin our careers with dies down, and I want us all to be the best we can be for our students.”

Brennan is prepared to accomplish her goals. She completed her master’s in education administration in 2018 with this career transition in mind, but she struggled with leaving the classroom.

“I was so invested in the students, and I wasn’t ready to leave the classroom,” says Brennan. “I’ve gotten older, and I’ve found my goals have changed. I feel like I’m now in a place to move toward an administrative role.”

Brennan shares that it was an opportune moment to participate in the College of Education Coaching Academy. Brennan had just begun teaching at Dutch Fork High School. Because the program was launched at the college’s Professional Development School sites, the program would not have been available at her previous school.

“I feel like it was fate,” says Brennan. “I knew that the Coaching Academy would not only help me work with interns, but it would translate to skills I would need as an administrator.”

Brennan cites the academy’s lessons on building positive relationships as the most transformative to her work.

“One of the things I constantly talk about is active listening,” says Brennan. “I learned that it was so important to not just give an answer or solve a problem, but how to guide others to discover answers on their own.”

Another lesson that she found especially helpful was strategic follow-ups. This helps her revisit plans with her colleagues and interns in a way that does not feel like micro-managing — just making sure everyone is on the same page. Brennan knows these lessons will give her the tools she needs to take the next step in her career.

“As an administrator, I am going to have to build empowering relationships with educators,” says Brennan. “I know that when I provide meaningful supports, I can make a real difference in their work.”

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