Our educators are under duress. Principals have to conduct more teacher evaluations than ever before—a process that yields valuable information but requires an unprecedented amount of time. They have to figure out how to help their teachers bring an entirely new set of standards to life in the classroom and chip away at a stubbornly persistent achievement gap. And they face a constant struggle to keep top teachers from leaving in the face of all these pressures.
It has become clear that this burden is too much for administrators to tackle on their own. If schools are to be successful at preparing all students for a rapidly changing world, they must distribute leadership more broadly. By developing leadership roles and skills for teachers, schools and school systems can make it easier for principals, teachers, and, above all, students to succeed.
Read the Report
In this paper, Leading Educators and the Aspen Institute propose a roadmap to empower teachers to lead from the front of the classroom. This paper outlines key phases that system administrators will need to consider as they build teacher leadership systems that address their highest priorities. For each phase, we offer a narrative description, high-impact action steps, common missteps, and discussion questions for further exploration. To clarify how system leaders can apply this paper, we examine the opportunities for teacher leadership as well as its challenges, and we analyze trends from organizations that have been working to implement effective teacher leadership.