INTRODUCTION – ARE TEACHERS LEADERS?
Leadership At All Levels…
If school systems are to be successful in transforming, they will need effective leadership at both the administrative level and among teachers and other employees. Effective superintendents and leaders of any large organization have always known that leadership cannot be equated to a title and that leadership density is what enables the organization to sustain good performance. Yet, in education, not enough has been invested in the research and development of teacher leadership. Strong research suggests that principal leadership makes a difference in how well a school performs (see, for example, McRel). There is less research available on teacher leadership.
Still, anyone who has ever worked in a school can describe how teachers have led. Teachers lead committees, chair departments, organize and manage projects, design curricula, initiate activities, collaborate with colleagues, interact directly with parents and the community, and make numerous decisions daily that affect the welfare of students. Many teachers help develop other teachers and inspire others to do their best work. Indeed, we believe that everyone has leadership potential and can grow as leaders.
Who Should Read This Book…
If schools and districts are to become more effective and also sustain reform, they must begin to expand leadership capacity at all levels. This book can help. It provides a framework of leadership that outlines leadership skills and abilities for teachers, and provides a guide for organizations that seek to develop the leadership capacity of the staff.
This book is not about helping a teacher climb the administrative ladder to principal or superintendent (although one of our authors has done just that). This book is about giving teachers a good review of sound leadership theory and practices, a clear explanation of how to apply this leadership theory and practices in the classroom and in their lives, and activities that teachers can do alone or in group settings with other teachers to improve their leadership skills.
Teachers can use this book to develop leadership skills that will make them more effective in or out of the classroom. More important -- organizations will find this book useful because it can be a catalyst to creating a new appreciation of the value of leadership at all levels and its potential for improving student outcomes, teacher satisfaction and longevity in the profession, improving the quality of schools’ overall, and improving the public support for the bedrock institution in our society – PreK-12 education.
Teachers lead every day. This book is designed to support teachers in becoming better leaders, and is designed to assist school administrators and educational funding agencies appreciate the true potential that improving leadership abilities by teachers can contribute successfully to improving our PreK-12 schools in the United States.
* The concept is incredibly important. I believe that building leadership capacity at all levels of school districts is essential if we are to solve our problems of practice and focus on continuous improvement...[read more]
Cindy Stevenson Superintendent, Jefferson County Schools, Golden CO