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Leading Educators partners with nine trailblazing states to enable teacher leadership growth

NEW ORLEANS, LA -  January 23, 2017

Leading Educators, a nationally-recognized nonprofit dedicated to raising student achievement by developing teacher leaders, has launched the State Teacher Leadership Toolkit: Created By States, For States. Developed in partnership with Education First, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation, the toolkit presents a roadmap for states to establish teacher leadership programs to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools.  

Piloted with nine trailblazing states1 around the country, the toolkit provides an important companion resource to support the state-level planning underway as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Through Title II of ESSA, states now have greater opportunities to advance teacher leadership and professional learning efforts. While many teacher leadership programs occur at the local level, states can be powerful partners to districts by creating the enabling conditions necessary for teacher leadership to thrive, providing guidance and catalyzing the conditions for implementation.

In 2014’s Leading from the Front of the Classroom: A Roadmap for Teacher Leadership that Works, Leading Educators presented districts with a concrete strategy for maximizing the potential of highly effective teachers to help improve classroom instruction, transform school culture, and create high-impact teacher leadership initiatives. The State Teacher Leadership Toolkit not only underscores the importance of teacher leadership programs, but it shines a light on the process of creating policy, with clear objectives and measures of success as well as the tools and funds to meet them. 

Robin McClellan, Supervisor of Elementary Education in the Sullivan County Department of Education Blountville, Tennessee said, “Leading Educators assembled a national team of advocates to support state departments of education with the design of teacher leadership programming. As a learner, I built my understanding of how to bridge the gap between state, district, and school levels to equip students for success. I believe this toolkit will be an invaluable resource as the nation focuses on building the capacity of the most important agents of educational change: teachers.”

The state leadership toolkit will: 

  • Provide states with tools to make the case for teacher leadership as a way to accelerate progress towards state goals
  • Build states’ understanding of teacher leadership policy, support, and funding options so they can identify the most successful strategies for their unique contexts 
  • Provide easy access to resources that states and districts can learn from to design and implement high impact teacher leadership initiatives

Leading Educators’ Chief Learning Officer Chong-Hao Fu stated, "School administrators are often faced with the challenge of designing and supporting education reform that is high-impact and sustainable. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states with greater flexibility to drive teacher leadership initiatives, and districts can play a key role in developing this work. Many states, however, need concrete strategies to help them leverage this new autonomy. The State Teacher Leadership Toolkit responds to this need by providing valuable insight and strategies for designing, implementing, and sustaining large-scale teacher leadership programs.”


The nine participating states include: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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About Leading Educators

Leading Educators raises the academic achievement of students by developing teachers to take on leadership roles within their schools. Incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization in 2011, Leading Educators is the only national program that exclusively supports the leadership and management development of teacher leaders. Using teacher leadership as a vehicle, Leading Educators is building a nationwide movement to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed in school and life.