Teacher Leadership for Principals

"When empowered teacher leaders facilitate the implementation of PLCs, schools can be transformed and student learning increased."

For Principals
For Principals

Teacher Leaders:

  • Are individuals who self-identify as a teacher leader
  • Are intrinsically motivated to come forward to share ideas
  • Seek opportunities to implement research-based practices
  • Collect, analyze, and effectively use data to improve student achievement
  • Demonstrate professional demeanor (positive, calm, flexible, reliable, punctual)
  • Communicate professionally to students, parents or guardians, district and school personnel, and other stakeholders
  • Build relationships with students, parents or guardians, district and school personnel, and other stakeholders
Examples of Teacher Leadership roles include but are not limited to the following:
  • A teacher who encourages colleagues without an intimidating approach
  • A teacher who bridges gaps between teachers (veterans, inexperienced)
  • A teacher who shares resources and knowledge with other colleagues (requested by administration or recognized by colleagues)
  • A teacher who acts in an official role, such as a mentor, instructional coach, grade-level chair, department chair, etc.
  • A teacher who acts in an unofficial role as an expert in a specific content (i.e. cooperative learning, differentiation, subject content, flexible grouping, data analysis, classroom management)

Advice for Principals to Optimize Teacher Leadership
  • Tame your fear of sharing leadership decision making with teachers. Reflect on the reasons why you feel hesitant or anxious about distributing leadership responsibility. How are those fears holding you back as a leader?
  • Cultivate curiosity about who your teachers are and what they know. Practice asking questions of teachers to seek to understand rather than telling them what you know.
  • Reimagine teacher leadership as a vehicle to drive your school to heights you haven’t conceived - not to optimize the school as it is today. You need them to help you co-craft that picture.

As the duties and responsibilities of a school principal continue to expand, administrators are often looking for new ways in which to more effectively manage their workload. Recent paradigm shifts amending the role of the principal from a managerial leader to that of a transformational one have left many principals drowning in a mound of responsibilities; indeed, this has caused many principals to look for new answers beyond bearing all of the load themselves. Teacher evaluation, school safety, climate and culture, instructional demands, digital technology implementation, accountability, human resources, and the like have all left many principals wondering how any one person can possibly handle all of those responsibilities effectively without dropping a ball in the process.

Download this toolkit to access guidance aimed at helping principals optimize teacher leadership. Topics addressed include:

  • Distributed leadership,
  • Barriers to leadership distribution,
  • How to grow teacher leaders,
  • How to sustain teacher leaders, and
  • Enacting transformational leadership.