The purpose of these standards—like all model standards—is to stimulate dialogue. Teachers, administrators, policymakers, and other stakeholders should discuss what knowledge, skills, and competencies teachers need in order to become leaders in their schools, districts, and the profession.
In May 2008, a group of educators met to talk about how to best identify and foster teacher leadership. The group was especially interested in examining how teacher leadership contributed to student and school success.
The initial group expanded to form the Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium. The Consortium is made up of a variety of education stakeholders, including union representatives, teachers, school administrators, policy organizations, and leaders in higher education.
Together, consortium members studied the latest research, examined existing programs, and spoke with current teacher leaders. The group discussed the multiple pathways into leadership, from formal education to informal mentoring.
Difficult questions surfaced. Does one have to be a great teacher to be a teacher leader? Can every teacher be a teacher leader? How should teachers be supported in leadership roles? The consortium released a draft version of the Standards for public comment in May 2010. The group carefully considered all comments and incorporated changes where appropriate.
The Standards are laid out as a series of broadly stated domains that identify critical dimensions of teacher leadership. Each domain includes functions that further define the scope of actions or expectations related to that domain.