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Janice Chao-Ching Liao, Coach/Bank Street Wallace Fellow
- What is your current role and professional history?
I came to New York City in the spring of 2003 to join the New York City Teaching Fellows program. As a fellow, I began teaching at PS 270 in Brooklyn and taught for three years in sixth, second and third grades respectively. In 2006, I became a fourth grade teacher at PS 158 in Manhattan. After teaching in the classroom for a total of seven years, I am now in my third year of coaching, mentoring and helping to build the rigorous work at PS 158 as a math/literacy coach.
- Why do you believe your leadership role is a critical lever to student achievement?
As a math/literacy coach, I support the teachers, the students, the curriculum, the administration and the school community. In one school day, I could be demonstrating a lesson and thinking with the teachers about how to further investigate a topic; mentoring first-year teachers; presenting our latest technology curriculum to our parent community; examining cross-grade data for school trends to focus our inquiry studies; and aligning our units and instruction with the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). Most importantly, I believe my role enhances the dialogue between our teachers and our practice which in turn strengthens the instructional health and student learning at our school.
- Why did you choose Bank Street Graduate School's Principals Institute? How has the program impacted you as a leader?
I chose Bank Street’s Principals Institute (PI) because PI has consistently modeled my vision for teaching and learning. The program embraces the whole child--socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively--and I am not only referring to children. PI challenges leaders to think about the development of the whole person--the whole teacher, the whole staff member - and to think about the developmental strengths and potential of everyone in the school community to the end of improving the community in which they live.
- Tell us about a personal or professional experience that has shaped you as a leader.
My current principal understands that leadership extends beyond the traditional hierarchy of one’s position. Rather, she has built a culture where every person strives to create a highly rigorous atmosphere of teaching and learning. She has built a self-motivated team that works to their best potential and challenges each other to do the same. She partners with research-based think tanks to closely examine best practices. She supports staff at all levels with smart staff development opportunities to inquire and meet as grade teams or across grades. She consistently finds the time to visit classrooms and has a pulse on the strengths and needs of her school. I am learning from her daily.
- What is unique about leading in New York City?
Leading in New York City requires vision. In this diverse city, each adult and child that comes through the door brings different approaches to problem-solving, traditions, languages, and cultures. Leading in New York City means cultivating possibilities and partnering with the city to be a real and active teaching ground where students engage in meaningful community. The vibrant city drives rich ideas and dynamic individuals, which means that leadership in New York City requires collaboration with others who offer a different perspective on achieving educational goals. Ultimately, the unique vision of New York City leadership is promoting an environment of constant learning with an eye for realizing the full potential of each student.