Identifying Teacher Leaders: Getting the Right People in the Right Positions

Most new principals learn quickly that their new job is simply too big for one person. While the principal’s role is taking on ever-increasing complexity, research is clear that instruction and student learning improve most when leadership is distributed effectively throughout a school, beyond formal, titled leaders. Yet many principals – even experienced ones – struggle to effectively activate teachers as partners in driving instructional improvement. Building on the foundation of the first brief in this series, which provided tools for principals to self-assess their own readiness to develop teacher leaders, this brief is for principals who are ready to make the leap and begin building a corps of teacher leaders in their building. Principals will find here a series of doable steps and resources to identify teachers with the greatest potential to fill leadership needs in the school. Bringing discipline to the practice of deploying teacher leaders, rather than “winging it,” is critical to avoid the traps of relying only on those teachers who are most senior or have a preexisting relationship, since there may not always be a match between their skills and the needs of the school. Read the brief now!