Join us March 15-17 for

CoachFest 2023

at Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education

Historic Campus Setting
Relaxed, Casual Atmosphere
Collaborative Learning
CoachFest 2021

A Conference for Instructional Coaches and Leaders

CoachFest is an opportunity for instructional coaches, curriculum facilitators, mentors, lead teachers and instructional leaders to learn, grow, and connect in a supportive community.

This 3-day experience is designed for those who support teachers to be filled personally and professionally. While there are a few events focused on educational coaching around the country, currently, there is no other event or organization in North Carolina specifically focused on growing and supporting instructional coaches.

A Beautiful Campus Setting

Reich College of Education

Participants will:

  • Attend professional learning sessions on all aspects of instructional coaching with self-care activities woven into conference sessions, meals, and breaks
  • Have options for down time including walking trails and campus shops.
  • Make connections with other educators through networking opportunities, an evening reception and a virtual coaching community through Participate, a platform designed for developing communities of practice to engage learners around a shared purpose.
AGENDA for Wednesday
AGENDA for Thursday
AGENDA for Friday

When teachers receive instructional coaching, the quality of their instruction improves enough to also lead to gains in student achievement, years of research show.

Education Week, July 2018

Relax & Enjoy

Come to Beautiful Boone, NC

CoachFest 2023 will take place on the campus of Appalachian State University, at the Reich College of Education building, 151 College Street, Boone, North Carolina 28608. 

More information about reservations and costs coming soon!

Photos from earlier years of CoachFest

Mountains behind Blowing Rock Conference Center
Beautiful morning
Drive up to Conference Center
Conference center building
Dining Hall
Meeting space
Outdoor gathering space
Nearby pasture
Wild turkeys crossing the drive
Arial view of Conference Center entry
Join In

CoachFest is for YOU

Instructional Coaches • Curriculum Facilitators • Mentors • Lead Teachers • Assistant Principals & Principals • Teachers Interested in Coaching

Instructional coaching is growing in North Carolina and around the country as a research-based professional development practice that improves instruction and leads to student success and teacher retention. The number of instructional coaches doubled in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015, and the number is still growing, according to the William and Mary Educational Review.


Learn & Grow

Former Keynote Speakers

Diane Sweeney
Diane Sweeney

Diane Sweeney has been an author and educational consultant since 1999. The author of The Essential Guide for Student-Centered Coaching (Corwin, 2020), Leading Student-Centered Coaching (Corwin, 2018), Student-Centered Coaching, The Moves (Corwin, 2016) et al., Diane holds a longstanding interest in how adult learning translates to learning in the classroom. Diane holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Denver and a master’s in bilingual and multicultural education from the University of Colorado, Boulder. After teaching and coaching in the Denver Public Schools, Diane served as a program officer at the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC) in Denver. Since then she has become a respected voice in the field of coaching and professional development.

Kenny McKee is a National Board Certified Teacher who works as a high school literacy and instructional coach for Buncombe County Schools in Asheville, NC. He supports classroom teachers and other school faculty in professional growth. He has 20 years of experience in education as a teacher and instructional coach. He also serves as a Teaching Instructor for the department of Literacy, English, and History Education at East Carolina University. In 2014, Kenny was selected as an ASCD Emerging Leader.

He is a co-author, along with Kathy Perret, of the upcoming ASCD title, Coaching Through Barriers: Compassionate Strategies for Challenging Situations. In 2020, Kenny won the Outstanding Publication Award from the Emerging Leaders ASCD chapter for his post, “Coaching Through the Covid-19 Crisis.”

Kenny McKee
Kenny McKee
Deborah E. Jones
Dr. Deborah Jones

Instructional leadership is vital in improving student achievement, especially in schools with many children of poverty and children of color.

The school principal sets the tone and focus for leading a comprehensive “big picture view” of a school improvement process. Principals are expected to be “instructional leaders,” but they are not the only ones in the school building. Instructional coaches are also instructional leaders, and together with the principal, they are charged with improving teacher and student performance. Principals, assistant principals, and coaches all assume a role as instructional leaders in the school improvement process. So why does a principal need an instructional coach? What does it mean to be an instructional leader, and how can principals and coaches create an environment where they improve teacher and student performance? Join me to answer these questions during this interactive keynote.

Dr. Deborah E. Jones, fondly known as “DJ”, established Educational Leadership Consulting in 2006. DJ retired as principal from the Guilford County School System in Greensboro, NC. She founded ELC on the belief that relationships, education, and leadership are critical factors that determine the success of any organization, its people, and the quality of services it provides. DJ served as a trained turnaround school team leader for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for three years. DJ conducts workshops, provides consulting and coaching services to principals and teachers, and speaks to student and parent groups. DJ demonstrates a strong passion and commitment to school improvement, educating minority children and children of poverty.

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What Participants Are Saying

I enjoyed the relaxed, casual atmosphere and how it felt like I was attending a conference where my input and my need for training was valued. I also liked that it did not start at 8:00 on the first day. This was great for those of us who are out of town but close enough to drive each day. This was a conference geared for coaching and was what I needed in my current role.

I loved the flexibility and I didn’t feel pressured at all. It felt like a retreat and PD in one.

CLD is a caring, warm group and those qualities and more were represented at the conference. It was a cozy, relaxing, fulfilling, nurturing educational fellowship. It helped me look at things a little different, and I took away at least one specific potential solution, possibly more, to solve an upcoming dilemma.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to “practice” what I had learned in the sessions!

There were several sessions that I attended that were of great value. They gave me ideas for how I can continue to expand my capabilities as an effective instructional coach.

I loved the location! The sessions were great and I feel that each speaker actually tweaked their presentation based upon the audience’s questions and needs.

We participated in scenarios where we practiced coaching teachers who either lacked confidence with their skills, or felt overwhelmed. Being able to look at these scenarios through a coach’s lens and to bounce ideas off of other coaches was valuable to me.

This was the best conference I have ever attended! Thank you so much!!!

I walked away with concrete tools I could utilize and implement immediately.

Having longer breaks between sessions allowed me to not feel rushed so that I had some time to digest what I had just learned before diving into a new session. It really did feel like a retreat rather than a conference, and I think I learned a lot more. I did not leave either day feeling brain tired and saturated with information. I left feeling like I had tools, resources, and fresh ideas to apply to my work. It was exciting!

Don’t Wait

Registration Information Coming Soon