Meet the CSO: Elliot Avis
December 05, 2018
Elliot Avis joined the GVSU Charter Schools Office in November as the latest addition to the School Support team. He joined the CSO with six years of education experience under his belt, working in the classroom with Chicago-area students before turning his focus toward managing teacher and school performance.
Elliot was born in Buffalo, NY, and moved to Michigan when he was just a few years old. He and his family first lived in Hillsdale, then moved to Grand Rapids when Elliot was in elementary school. As Elliot progressed through his K-12 journey in West Michigan, he spent a few years at one of GVSU’s charter schools (Knapp Charter Academy). Upon graduating high school, Elliot enrolled at Wittenberg University in Ohio, where he studied political science and history.
Elliot credits his parents for fueling his passion for working with K-12 students. He says his mother always encouraged him and his brothers to find a way to serve their community as public servants. He also noted that being the oldest child solidified his passion because he felt he had been a teacher his whole life to his younger siblings.
While completing an internship in Washington D.C. at the Department of Education, Elliot learned that the best way for him to learn about education and to make legitimate change was to experience it from the classroom level. So, after graduating from college, Elliot moved to Chicago, and worked through Teach for America as a special education teacher at John Marshall Metropolitan High School.
After three years in the classroom, Elliot started focusing on performance management as a manager for teacher leadership development at Teach for America. He then joined Chicago Public Schools as a Performance Task Manager, where he worked across the district to ensure student achievement was accurately captured and appropriately addressed to drive improvement.
We briefly sat down with Elliot to learn a little more about his educational experiences and personal life.
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Listen to those around you and take time to reflect on what happened in your classroom every day. It helps to define success as 100% of your students knowing what they are doing and why they are doing it. Let them know how the content fits into long-term goals.
What is one book that you would recommend educators to read, whether for their professional or personal benefit?
The book that has had the greatest impact in my roles as an educator is “The Art of Coaching” by Elena Agular . I got this as a gift from my mom a few years ago and to this day is my go-to when it comes to coaching. The book breaks down what it look like to coach towards classroom and school transformation
What do you like to do for fun?
I consider myself an outdoorsman. I like to ski, hike, hunt, camp, fish…just like being outdoors. That was part of the draw of moving back to Michigan. I can drive a couple of hours in any direction and do those things. I also enjoy staying in shape through Crossfit.