“Within every school there is a sleeping giant of teacher leadership, which can be a strong catalyst for making change.” (Katzenmeyer and Moller, 2001)
“It is time to blur the lines of distinction between those who teach and those who lead.” (Berry, 2011)
Cultivating Teacher Effectiveness
An effective teacher is the strongest in-school predictor of student achievement. Teachers teach more effectively when they work in professional cultures where their opinions and input are valued. In such environments, administrators support teachers as they exchange ideas and strategies, problem-solve collaboratively, and consult with expert colleagues.
Our work envisions an education system in which teachers fill specialized leadership roles. Teachers in these positions can support and inform school leaders, creating a culture of success that can reverberate across their districts and beyond. Working with their colleagues, teacher leaders can implement strategies that improve student learning. Research shows that collective leadership has a stronger influence on student achievement than individual leadership. The Teacher Leader Model Standards seek to generate collective leadership by fostering professional discussion about best practices and advancing new roles for teachers to serve.
A Need for Change
Twenty-first century learners deserve twenty-first-century instruction. Meeting the needs of contemporary students necessitates concerted effort. Our nation’s highest performing schools have cultures that promote collaboration and professional inquiry. Helping to create similar cultural shifts in schools across the nation would allow teachers to reach their full potential. Instead of working in isolation, for example, teachers should be able to collaborate in an environment that encourages innovation. Implementing these changes will require principals, school boards, and teachers to recalibrate their practice and their thinking.
In May 2011, the Teacher Leader Model Standards were released in Washington, D.C., and a representative panel discussed the standards through a variety of lenses to an audience of teachers and education stakeholders, including the 2011 State Teachers of the Year:
· Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director, CCSSO discussed the role of the standards in a continuum of professional practice and the alignment of the standards to InTASC and ISLLC
· Barnett Berry, President and CEO, Center for Teaching Quality spoke about the role of the standards in policy, and announcement of the Teacher Leader Model Standards Web site
· Christopher Poulous, Connecticut State Teacher of the Year 2007 shared his thinking on the role of the standards in practice
· Mary Beth Blegen, National Teacher of the Year, 1999 discussed the role of the standards in fostering collaborative school communities and in growing administrators
· Joellen Killion, Deputy Director, LearningForward spoke about the role of the standards in professional learning
You may listen to the audio here: