PMP397: Maximizing Feedback to Teachers with Molly Dexter, Brandon Mawhorter, and Kathleen Beckham

Hello, Friends! It’s Will Parker here from Principal Matters: The School Leader’s Podcast. We’re excited to announce that we’re approaching our 400th episode! Can you believe it? To make this milestone even more special, we’d love to hear from you. If this podcast has inspired, helped, or encouraged you, would you consider sharing your thoughts with us? It’s easy: find a quiet spot, record a 60-second voice memo on your phone, and email it to We’re eager to hear why the show resonates with you, your favorite moments, or anything you find particularly thought-provoking or funny. Thanks in advance for your contributions, and thank you for doing what matters!

This week Will Parker is joined by three guests whose expertise includes areas of teacher coaching and feedback. digiCOACH is a longtime sponsor of Principal Matters and provides resources to inspire educators with ideas and tools that may improve your work. This week we have the opportunity to meet some of the people behind the product – with a collective wisdom on ways principals can maximize feedback with teachers. 

Here are bios for our guests and a few questions we explore:

Molly Dexter is an experienced educator, having worked in various educational settings from preschool to high school. She holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master’s in Education. Passionate about improving education, Molly joined digiCOACH over a year ago to enhance the experiences of educators and students. She believes in the power of positive coaching for effective learning environments.

Brandon Mawhorter is a self-taught tech enthusiast who started as IT support in Southern California schools. With a background deeply rooted in education, he has been a key member of digiCOACH since 2011. Brandon’s expertise has been instrumental in the platform’s development, focusing on client satisfaction and ongoing improvements. He plays a vital role in expanding digiCOACH’s coaching system and ensuring comprehensive client support.

Kathleen Beckham has over 50 years in education, spanning kindergarten to community college. Kathleen is a dedicated advocate for students and curriculum development. She holds a Bachelor’s in Education and two Master’s degrees in Reading, and Curriculum and Technology. Post-retirement, Kathleen joined digiCOACH, where for nearly 10 years, she has contributed to research, webinars, trainings, and company publications.

Listen to the entire episode for great takeaways!

Here are some highlights from the questions and responses in this episode:

Molly: Begin with understanding your ‘why’. Your purpose for being teacher and education. We all want to grow. Framing your feedback to teachers from that perspective is more helpful because it is a partnership, not a criticism.

Kathleen: So many admins have not been taught the methods they are trying to improve. You are not alone. Learning to ask questions is the first step in discovering strengths and weaknesses. Collaborating together is the most productive way to benefit in coaching feedback.

Brandon: Feedback must be viewed as a partnership or it is not effective. We must move beyond ‘I think and feel’ to data that drives meaningful feedback – and this must be separate from evaluations.

Kathleen: Collaboration works from everyone, and it begins at the top. Think about a sports team. Good teams observe one another, provide supportive feedback, praise good work, and make suggestions for improvement. The same works for teachers. Encourage a culture of collaboration helps leaders have the right atmosphere for providing feedback.

Molly: Teachers want advice, feedback and resources. Put yourself back in the shoes of your teachers. Then frame your conversations with that perspective in mind.

Brandon: First we need a big picture approach. How do you schedule and prioritize walk throughs, observations and feedback. What practices are you wanting to see? Are these essentials understood as a part of your learning community – from and with your teachers? What strategies and feedback can you provide in a way that actually provides help? 

These important questions help you narrow down your practices. digiCOACH provides you with the tools to do implement these practices. With ready-to-use feedback prompts, a digital platform for communicating with teachers, and a system for analyzing your schoolwide data, you can accomplish your goals, be in more classrooms,  and save time in the process.

As we wrap up, Brandon shares a “See it, Share it, Claim it” strategy. Molly reminds us to lead from our ‘why’, and Kathleen encourages leaders to “Choose one thing, and do that.” 

Listen to the entire episode for more takeaways! You can stay connected with Molly, Brandon and Kathleen, and find out more about their resources for maximizing feedback to teachers at Thank you again for doing what matters!

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker