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Agents of Change

How Content Coaching Transforms Teaching and Learning

By Lucy West, Antonia Cameron
Foreword by Jim Knight

Based on decades of experience designing and implementing coaching initiatives, this practical resource for transforming school culture and inspiring true learning provides instructional leaders with specific techniques, tools, and strategies to improve teaching and learning on a schoolwide level.

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List Price: $44.38

Web/School Price: $35.50


Full Description

“If education is to be the learning profession, then we must walk the walk of learners.  The bottom line is not perfection, constant success, and high test scores.  The bottom line is creating a culture in which learning, innovation, and collaboration are the norms—a learning culture.  When adults in schools create such environments, children will thrive.”
—Lucy West and Antonia Cameron

 How can teacher leaders cultivate an adult learning environment that will upgrade teaching capacity system-wide, and ultimately improve student learning in every classroom?  Lucy West and Toni Cameron turn decades of experience designing and implementing coaching initiatives into a practical resource for transforming school culture and inspiring true learning at every level. 

 Agents of Change provides coaches, administrators, and teacher leaders with specific techniques, tools, and strategies for working with individual classroom teachers to plan and co-teach lessons, reflect on them afterwards, and find evidence of student learning. Lucy and Toni argue that when we infuse rich learning conversations into the professional discourse via coaching, study lessons, and regular meeting times for professionals to work collaboratively, we’re able to examine what it takes on a day to day basis to reach every student in our classrooms.  The transformative potential of content coaching to improve both teacher and student learning on a school-wide level has never been more clear.

Purchase includes free access to an online video case study.
Read a sample chapter!

(click any section below to continue reading)


1. What Is Content Coaching?
2. Designing and Refining Coaching Initiatives
3. Roles in a Coaching Initiative
4. Know Thyself
5. Communication is Key
6. Assessing Teacher Development: The Starting Place for Coaching Teachers
7. The Preconference
8. Co-Teaching the Lesson
9. The Postconference
Appendix A:  Guide to Core Issues
Appendix B: Sample Coach Schedules
Appendix C: Activities
Appendix D: Collaborative Goal Setting


Companion Resources

Video Trailer


In Agents of Change,Lucy West and Antonia Cameron remind us that expert, well-prepared teachers make all the difference in the lives of students, no matter their subject areas. Their carefully-crafted chapters contain thoughtful suggestions for administrators, staff developers, and coaches who are determined to help classroom teachers make long-lasting changes in their teaching. Throughout this ground-breaking book, Lucy and Toni help educators develop a coaching culture in their classrooms, staff rooms, and district offices. Such a culture no doubt leads to better schools for our children.

Shelley Harwayne, author, consultant, and former School Superintendent of District 2 Manhattan

This is a state-of-the-art book on coaching skills by two of the most experienced and accomplished coaches in the country. But Agents of Change is far more than that. The book reflects the authors’ understanding of how, properly constructed and implemented, the position of instructional coach can be a potent lever for system-wide improvement of teaching and learning. Coaches can be change agents to the adult professional culture as well as resources to individual teachers. The authors lived this message in the 1990’s in District 2 in NYC. That district became the top performer in the whole city over that decade, in large part by implementing the model they describe. This is not just theory. Yes, readers focused on the texture of coaching excellence will find a treasury of subtle insights into planning, points of intervention, and communication skills. But this book is an important addition to the literature on systemic change and should not be missed by policymakers, school board members, and educational leaders at all levels.

Dr. Jon Saphier, Founder of Research for Better Teaching, Inc. and author of The Skillful Teacher

West and Cameron achieve a homerun with this book. In a time of rapid change in education driven by more rigorous content standards that require new ways of teaching and learning, especially in mathematics, and higher standards for teacher performance, effective coaching is even more essential. Coaching, as West and Cameron portray it, is a powerful vehicle for the continuous development of teachers and elevating teaching.

Joellen Killion, Senior Advisor, Learning Forward and co-author of Taking the Lead: New Roles for Teachers and School-Based Coaches and Coaching Matters

Full of fresh ideas and thought-provoking strategies, Agents of Change is a wonderful reminder that Coaching is indeed an Art.   The book helps us see coaching as part of a larger system to improve education and guides us as we navigate the sticking points, and tricky situations when we enter the classroom, and guides us through the hard conversations we inevitably must face.  Ultimately, it is a book that honors teachers and teaching, and, at its core, understands that to improve education we must value a teacher’s constant desire to get smarter.

Donna Santman, education consultant and author of Shades of Meaning

Agents of Change builds a forward-looking framework for 21st century coaching consistent with schools of the future, replacing the factory-model schools of past and present.  The authors’ framework values learning on a par with performance, for both students and teachers. Most importantly, perhaps, the framework portrays the coach not as a luxury for schools and districts in times of plenty, but as a pivotal component of effective educational systems.  Further, the book is very practical and helpful in describing the framework.  As they lay out its components, the authors offer many clear strategies for coaches to follow, along with describing potential traps, those roles and behaviors coaches should not assume.

Mark Driscoll, author of Fostering Algebraic Thinking

Agents of Change is a very valuable resource on the role of content-focused coaching in improving teacher and student learning. It provides a careful and sophisticated characterization of the role, strategies, moves, and dispositions of coaches while positioning their work in relation to other actors within the school system. It artfully incorporates a case study into three of the chapters and makes explicit the coach’s and teacher’s moves in the case. The combination of the case and its meta-analysis will help coaches and the people who support or hire them gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the complexities and nuances of coaching.

Giselle Martin Kniep, President of Learner-Centered Initiatives

Related PD Services


Email if you would like to contact Lucy West directly about professional development support. Email if you would like to contact Antonia Cameron directly about professional development support.