Our Work

Leading Educators partners with schools and districts to help highly effective teachers develop the leadership skills they need to successfully transition from leading students to leading their peers. We help districts identify their best teachers, and then provide intensive job-embedded coaching, relevant professional development, and powerful cohort-based learning experiences.

Our goal is to extend the reach and impact of highly effective teachers, transforming schools and dramatically improving student outcomes. We believe that teacher leadership increases support for new teachers, retains our best teachers in the classroom, and relieves overburdened principals.

 

The Landscape

For too many students, the United States public education system is failing. Students of color trail their white peers by an average of two grade levels1, and upon entering fourth grade, children from low-income families are already two to three grade levels behind their higher-income peers.2 Meanwhile, data show that the top 20% of teachers generate an additional five to six months of student learning each year than poorly performing teachers, yet the nation’s 50 largest districts lose approximately 10,000 high-performing teachers each year.3 Moreover, it is estimated that in the next decade 40% of today's principals will retire. School leaders who are retiring are not being replaced by enough qualified candidates.4 Traditional teacher preparation emphasizes leading students, but does not acknowledge the skills required to lead adults. Teacher leaders–as team leaders and peer coaches–can help dramatically improve the teacher practice and student learning in their schools,5 but only if they are equipped with the adult leadership skills they need to succeed.

Access to meaningful teacher leadership roles that go beyond the role of administrative department chair or committee member also achieves another critical aim–-keeping our best teachers in the classroom working with students.

Leading Educators’ theory of change is that by simultaneously retaining high-quality teacher leaders and increasing their reach to drive student achievement, high-need schools will be able to close the opportunity gap. This theory is supported by research demonstrating the impact of distributed leadership and teacher collaboration on raising student achievement.

 

1 National Center for Education Statistics, 2009, 2011
2 NCES, 2009
3 The New Teacher Project, 2012
4 National Association of Secondary School Principals, 2002
5 Togneri and Anderson, 2009