New “Instructional Design Specialists” arrive at Sevier and Robinson


Conner Hall

DESIGNING LESSONS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL. "Instructional Design Specialist" Amanda Cole works in the office she shares with Jessica Hayworth. Cole and Hayworth's new roles at Sevier and Robinson are designed to support teachers.

Conner Hall, Web Editor

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Jessica Hayworth and Amanda Cole were teachers last year, but this year they took on a whole new challenge: ‘Instructional Design Specialist’. They split their time between John Sevier Middle and Ross N. Robinson Middle.

Hayworth has been teaching for 16 years, mostly as a language arts teacher, which she was doing last year as a sixth grade teacher at Sevier Middle.

Cole has been teaching for 11 years, all in Kingsport City Schools. During that time, she has taught 2nd, 4th and 5th grades, mostly math and science.

Many students do not know what an Instructional Design Specialist is, as it is a new position this school year. They do not get much time in the spotlight because they do not have a lot of contact with students.

“The role of the Instructional Design Specialist was created to help support teachers and increase student achievement through utilizing 21st century learning skills,” Cole said. “Our role is to support teachers through changing standards, technology implementation and innovation. We also partner with teachers to develop relationships and support their needs on an individual and group basis.”

Basically, the position of the Instructional Design Specialist, or “InDeS”, was created to help teachers.

“This position allows teachers to have someone to assist with anything needed,” Hayworth said. “It is our hope that we can support teachers with new learning while slightly decreasing their loads. We want to be able to provide resources and support that may not have existed before the position.”

There were many reasons why Cole and Hayworth decided to take on this position. Accepting this offer included leaving their jobs as classroom teachers.

“Leaving my classroom at John Adams Elementary was a very difficult decision,” Cole said. “I enjoy working with teachers for the same reasons I enjoy working with students. Teachers work very hard to make learning exciting and meaningful for their students. I saw the Instructional Design Specialist role as an opportunity to work with a greater number of teachers and students while continuing to impact and empower teachers and students.”

Hayworth believed this position was is a new adventure.

“I love working with adults just as much as I love working with students,” she said. “I do miss my students. I don’t think students realize that teachers think of their students as their own children. For sixteen years, I had a classroom full of students…students that I loved. It is hard to not have the interactions with them any longer.”

Both Instructional Design Specialists believe that this position was a good addition to Sevier and Robinson.

“Education is changing and it is difficult for teachers to lead their classroom and continually seek out new and innovative ideas to implement,” Cole said.

With such a big change in position, it’s no surprise that Cole and Hayworth see both positives and negatives in their new jobs.

“My favorite part of being an instructional design specialist is that I get to work with so many wonderful and talented teachers,” Hayworth said.

Cole agrees.

“My favorite part of being an Instructional Design Specialist is working with many teachers and students whom I would have never met if it weren’t for this role,” Cole said. “My least favorite part is missing out on the interactions I had with students on a daily basis.”

As part of their new jobs, Cole and Hayworth have to split their time between Sevier and Robinson Middle School. Cole believes this is a good thing.

“I enjoy working at both middle schools,” she said. “Mrs. Hayworth and I spend our time collaborating with teachers at both middle schools and can share resources and strategies across both schools. I have enjoyed working with amazing teachers and administrators at both schools.”

Hayworth agrees.

“I love splitting the time with the two schools,” she said. “There has been so much collaboration and sharing as a result of Mrs. Cole and I going back and forth. It is amazing to see the same wonderful work going on inside the classrooms at both schools.”

It is particularly important to the Instructional Design Specialists that teachers know how much they are appreciated.

“Teachers do not hear enough how much they are truly appreciated,” Hayworth said. “Teachers have so much of an impact on students’ lives. Much longer after the assessments are over, students remember their teachers.”

Cole has a word of advice for students.

“Every day is a choice,” she said. “We can choose do positive and amazing things for others that have a lifelong lasting effect.”

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