7 Perspectives on Teacher Leadership

October 2014, Volume 38, Issue 2

Behind every great school is a great principal, but leadership doesn’t stop in the principal’s office. The best principals know that teacher leadership is essential to creating a high-quality education for every student.

That’s why NAESP supports the U.S. Department of Education’s Teach to Lead initiative, which seeks to highlight methods to teacher leadership, share resources to create new opportunities for teacher leadership, and encourage policymakers and educators to commit to expanding teacher leadership in schools across the country.

The Teach to Lead website is full of stories and resources to inspire and develop teacher leadership. It also provides an innovative platform for educators to share their best ideas for teacher leadership. Commit to Lead is an online community that compiles new concepts members have submitted, and lets users vote for the best ones and share them with colleagues on social media. NAESP will also collect principals’ best practice case studies to create an inventory with strategies members can use to develop and support teacher leaders.

To get you thinking about teacher leadership, these seven top articles from Principal magazine show what great teacher leadership looks like and how it can impact your school:

  • “Growing Sustainable Teacher Leadership,” by Christopher Wooleyhand, highlights steps principals can take to help develop teacher leaders and support them in their role. Best practices in areas such as hiring, evaluation, and offering professional development can truly make a difference in creating teacher leadership. Read more
  • “The Case for Teacher-led School Improvement,” by LaQuanda Brown, provides a useful introduction to teacher leadership, and argues that principals can only benefit from sharing leadership roles and responsibilities with teachers. Read more
  • “Shared Leadership: Lessons Learned,” by Bonnie J. Cangelosi, shares her story of implementing teacher leadership at her school. She acknowledges the importance of a teacher leadership model that is responsive to school and staff needs, and evolves over time. Read more
  • “Best Use of Math Teacher Leaders,” by Maggie B. McGatha, defines and compares different models of math teacher leadership. She explains the differences between math coaches and specialists, and how both may fit into your school’s instruction. Read more
  • “Instructional Leader? Not Me,” by Don Sternberg, considers the author’s role as instructional leader at his school. He argues that he actually only serves as instructional manager, and that instructional leadership responsibilities are best left to teachers. Read more
  • “Leaders & Introverts: Supporting Our Team Members,” by Kathy Melton, offers one principal’s reflections on how she convinces teachers to take on leadership roles. She learns that in order to inspire certain teachers, principals need a more thoughtful approach. Read more
  • “Train from Within,” by Karla Taylor, shows how teachers can be put in charge of their own learning. Featured in Principal and Crayola’s special 2013 arts supplement, the piece offers examples of teachers taking the lead in developing arts-infused instruction at their school. Read more

Make sure to share examples of what you’ve done­—or hope to do—to implement meaningful teacher leadership systems at your school.

Copyright © 2014. National Association of Elementary School Principals. No part of the articles in NAESP magazines, newsletters, or website may be reproduced in any medium without the permission of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. For more information, view NAESP’s reprint policy

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