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Expert Shares Ways to Cultivate Teacher Leaders in Schools

Expert Shares Ways to Cultivate Teacher Leaders in Schools

How can teacher leaders help strengthen a school? Pamela Roggeman, former high school English teacher and academic dean for the College of Education at University of Phoenix, shares ways that administrators and principals can foster a true teacher leadership in an article on

"By 2020, American public schools will need more than 440,000 new teachers," Roggeman wrote in the article. "One effort to address this need is to retain good teachers. Perhaps insight into retaining good teachers can be gleaned from why teachers leave a building. The National Center for Education Statistics found teachers leave because they lack:

  • Opportunities for professional advancement
  • Recognition and support from administrators/managers
  • Autonomy or control over own work
  • Influence over workplace policies and practices

In short, these teachers wanted to have influence in the schools, but formal leadership roles in K12 schools are limited. Like teachers, building principals face ever-expanding responsibilities."

Roggeman then asked: "if many teachers leave because they perceive leadership opportunities lacking, why do some building leaders still fail to empower teachers to lead?"

"Successful teacher leadership does not just happen," she answered. "The ever-growing pedagogy of teacher leadership lends insight into cultivating effective leaders. The Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium outlines seven domain-specific competencies of effective teacher leaders at building and district levels. They include:

  • Accessing and using research to improve practice and student learning
  • Promoting professional learning for continuous improvement
  • Promoting the use of assessments and data for school and districtwide improvement
  • Improving outreach and collaboration with families and community.

Roggeman said that this work "also defines the competency and the functions a teacher leader."

"Using the research of teacher leadership pedagogy, the National Institute for School Leadership’s formal curriculum for cultivating teacher leadership includes the following competencies:

  • Strategic thinker
  • Instructional leader
  • Team leader
  • Visionary
  • Data master
  • Coach and mentor
  • Driver of change

"What both of these works demonstrate are the vast and diverse leadership needs that face K12 schools," Roggeman said. "The learning environment in today’s K12 schools—and new assessments and standards such as Common Core—demand teacher leaders who are empowered to affect change in their schools."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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