Leading Educators partners with schools and districts to maximize the leadership development of highly effective teachers. Our goal is to bolster the talent pipeline via identifying and training strong potential teacher-leaders and, in turn, increase student achievement and develop the skills and sustainability of teachers on our teacher-leaders' teams.
For too many students, the United States public education system is failing. Students of color trail white peers by an average of 2 grade levels (NCES, 2009, 2011), and upon entering fourth grade, children from low-income families are already two to three grades behind their higher-income peers. (NCES 2009) Meanwhile, data show that the top 20% of teachers generate 5 to 6 more months of student learning each year than a poor-performing teacher, but the nation’s 50 largest districts lose approximately 10,000 high-performing teachers each year. (TNTP, 2012) 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. (NASSP, 2002)
Leading Educators develops teacher-leaders (e.g., grade chairs, deans, master teachers, curriculum coordinators, assistant principals) in order to significantly raise student achievement and retain talented educators in urban schools.
Traditional teacher preparation emphasizes leading students but does not acknowledge the skill required to lead adults. Teacher-leaders can help galvanize a school around ambitious goals and establish conditions that support teachers and facilitate student success (Togneri and Anderson, 2009), but often these leaders are not developed. Leading Educators is the only national program that explicitly supports the management and leadership development of teacher-leaders, despite evidence that highly effective teachers identify teacher leadership roles as high impact and attractive. (Johnson, 2009. MetLife, 2009). Teacher-leader development focused on student results in turn bolsters the capacity of schools to yield high student achievement, retain great teachers, and bolster the talent pipeline.
In 2008, a new model to support teacher-leaders was founded both in London and in New Orleans. In the summer of 2011, Leading Educators emerged from a pilot phase, received independent 501c3 status, and began national expansion. 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 achievement gap. This theory is supported by research that demonstrates the impact of distributed leadership and collaboration on raising student achievement .
Leading Educators offers a two-year Fellowship program as well as series of customized Strategic Support Initiatives to schools and districts. All programs focus on developing the impact and reach of teacher-leaders in the core curricular areas of Instructional Leadership, Core Beliefs and Mindsets, Cultural Leadership, and Management of Self and Others. Participating educators learn how to leverage distributed leadership to more effectively execute goals within their sphere of school influence, to lead teams of educators to increase student achievement, and to improve school cultural environments to promote learning and aspiration.
- Katie Meyer, Cohort 2011