Welcome to ISA, Marvin Pryor!

ISA is pleased to welcome Dr. Marvin Pryor to the team, as a senior director of programs.

Marvin served for more than 30 years in the field of education with experience as a classroom teacher, central office coordinator, high school principal, secondary chief of schools, and chief academic officer. As a high school principal in an urban school district, Marvin'[s leadership enabled him to transform one of the lowest performing high schools in the state of Georgia to a high performer that was recognized by U.S. News and World Report in USA Today Magazine as one of America’s best high schools. Under his leadership, and with a strong partnership with ISA, he defied the odds and increased the school’s graduation rate of 27% to 100%, 98%, and 97%, respectively, during his first three graduation cohorts. Marvin received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Berklee College of Music, a master’s degree in education from Jacksonville State University, and an education specialist’s degree and a doctor of education degree in educational leadership from Sarasota University.

Marvin and his wife live in the Atlanta area, they have two daughters, and he is an active and accomplished musician, with the PR Experience just one of his musical endeavors.

Coaching and PD Support for this Summer and Next School Year

ISA is already booking professional development and coaching partnerships for the summer and next school year. Can we help you with…

  • A summer institute around best instructional practices, with ISA’s experienced content area coaches?
  • Summer work with your district’s own coaches, to explore additional strategies that can be used to expand the effectiveness of district and school priorities?
  • A work plan for next school year that supports all general education teachers and paraprofessionals who provide instruction and related services to students with disabilities?
  • A school development or leadership coach for principals to support the implementation of school improvement plans?

Read more about what ISA can do here and then reach out to Abner Oakes (aoakes <at> ets.org) to talk about the above or other possible support. Together we can collaborate to help sustain your current success and to provide personalized professional development for educators in your district and schools.

Video of Our Webinar: Curating a Literacy Life: Student-Centered Learning at Glenville High School in Cleveland

This webinar celebrated the publication of a new book by ISA coach Dr. William (Bill) Kist with help from Glenville teachers, Shannon Davis and Ga-Vita Haynes. Curating a Literacy Life: Student-Centered Learning with Digital Media comes out of the work that Bill, professor emeritus at Kent State University, did in the vibrant, student-centered classrooms of Shannon and Ga-Vita. To watch the webinar, go here on ISA’s Vimeo page.

Coach’s Corner: Q and A with ISA Coach Dillon Prime

Dillon joined ISA as a leadership coach in 2021. With help from Teach for America, he began his career as a middle school social studies and English/language arts teacher in the Bronx. There he also served as a teacher leader, events coordinator, rugby coach, and assistant principal. In 2012, as part of the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) Office of New School’s School Design Program, Dillon got approval to open a new innovative and student-centered district middle school in the Bronx. As the founding principal, he led Bronx Park Middle School for six years, with some of the highest academic growth and performance indicators of any middle school in the borough and some of the highest student perception scores of any school in all of New York City. In 2018, Dillon became a manager for the NYCDOE, as a new principal support coach with the educational leadership executive coaching team. Working with 50+ schools across the city, Dillon helped each new leader develop the skills, mindsets, habits and leadership lenses necessary to thrive in the challenging work of leading a NYC public school. Now Dillon splits time between supporting school leaders and running an inn in northern New York.

Which teacher of yours do you feel most impacted your coaching approach? Why?

Let me give credit to two people here, knowing that dozens more also deserve it. First, my 9th and 10th grade global teacher, Mr. Tuller, absolutely deserves mentioning. From him I learned that the relationship between teacher and student doesn’t have to be defined by top-down power and authority. He was personable and funny, made learning interesting and accessible, and treated students as people. I learned a ton in his class. I bring that to my coaching. Each leader is a human being that brings tremendous expertise and experience to their role, and they are the closest person to each challenge they face. My coaching is leader-centered, rather than top down, and focuses on helping each individual find agency to problem solve. I’d also like to give credit to Matthew Pearson, a director for the educational leadership executive coaching team at the NYCDOE. He taught me that great coaching is great teaching. From him I learned the power of listening to a leader on multiple levels, mirroring back what I’ve heard, and asking thoughtful questions to help them process their own beliefs. The most important learning often comes from within, and every leader/teacher should have those skills!

What do you enjoy most about your coaching work?

I love the people and I love when they find new agency in their work. Each person brings so much unique experience and perspective to their leadership, and I always feel like I walk away having learned new things. Then, when that person can shake off the blind spots, which we all carry into leadership, and realize the power they have to shape an amazing learning experience and culture for students and adults, that’s where the magic happens. I love to see empowered leaders engaging strategically, seeing what a difference it makes for teachers and for students.

What was your most memorable moment with a student or students when you were teaching?

It’s hard to pick. I loved simulations and role-playing learning opportunities. I guess, if I have to choose, I always particularly loved when students designed their Mesopotamian city-states and engaged in a simulation, much like the game Risk. Inevitably some groups would underestimate the resources they should commit to agriculture and would wind up attacking other city-states. The cycle of conquest and destruction would ruin multiple states, and in the game’s reflection phase, students would realize that resource grabbing is both unnecessary and needlessly destructive. Sixth graders expounding on the need for infrastructure investment and cooperation between states still warms my heart to this day.

 What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

The flavor is called Peanut Butter Pandemonium and can be found exclusively at Stewart’s, an upstate New York chain of convenience stores. They have amazing ice cream.