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Ed Leadership Blog: Trends in Teacher Leadership

Are you a school leader, or do you aspire to be one? Staying up-to-date on news and trends in your field will help you proactively lead schools. Each month, faculty members in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies blog about topics to advance your career. Teacher leaders, principals, school technology leaders, and superintendents may want to bookmark this page.

This month’s Ed Leadership Blog is written by Dr. Tricia Browne-Ferrigno, a professor in Educational Leadership Studies who focuses on school improvement, professional mentoring, and leadership preparation and development.

By Tricia Browne-Ferrigno, Ph.D.

photo of Dr. Tricia Browne-Ferrigno
Dr. Tricia Browne-Ferrigno

Although leadership has long been recognized as a critical component of effective P12 schools, leading 21st century schools requires careful attention to myriad, often complex tasks. To successfully complete the diverse tasks, a principal needs support from teacher leaders who actively and collaboratively assess student-learning progress, supervise curriculum development and instruction, implement school-improvement initiatives, and monitor impact of those efforts. This collectively enacted learning-centered leadership requires complex interrelationships based on mutual openness, relational trust, and shared responsibilities for achieving required outcomes.

Teacher leaders can positively influence outcomes through building relationships among their peers, breaking down barriers that inhibit collegial collaboration, and sharing resources to improve instruction. Although their leadership may be formal (e.g., academic coach, department chair) or informal (e.g., advocate, instructional model, peer mentor), teachers aspiring to become teacher leaders must thus be prepared to:

  • model professionalism through leading by example, engaging in continuous professional development, and sharing their expertise;
  • collaborate purposefully and effectively with others to achieve shared goals;
  • initiate improvement in student achievement and school performance; and
  • influence change through active involvement in decision making.

Regardless of the roles or tasks they assume, purposefully developed and engaged teacher leaders help build organizational capacity and create sustainable change within a school culture.

The Teacher Leadership Program offered by the UK Department of Educational Leadership Studies was designed to address expanded leadership expectations for educators working in schools and districts across Kentucky and beyond. The program, delivered online via cohorts, includes five required courses that address leadership and research development and five elective courses that allow candidates to achieve their unique professional development needs. Participants can also complete two UK graduate certificates (i.e., instructional coaching, leadership for deeper learning, school technology leadership) while enrolled in the program.

For more information, go to education.uky.edu/edl/teacher-leader-programs/.