Teacher leaders create their own jobs

By Tiffany M. Squires and Gerald LeTendre
December 2020
Vol. 41, No. 6
All teachers can lead,” argued school leadership expert Roland Barth (2001), and we need their leadership if we’re going to meet the needs of all students. Schools have become complex organizations that require diverse areas of expertise, and leveraging teachers’ strengths into new roles is critical for school improvement. But are schools and teachers prepared to take on these changes? Fostering teachers to become school leaders requires teachers to develop a new set of skills as well as changes in existing patterns of leadership and school culture (Wenner & Campbell, 2017). Colleges of education can play a key role in advancing teacher leaders’ practice in schools by integrating teacher leadership into existing programs of educational leadership or administration. However, they must get beyond their current

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Barth, R. (2001). Teacher leader. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(6), 443-449.

Berry, B., Byrd, A., & Wieder, A. (2013). Teacherpreneurs: Innovative teachers who lead but don’t leave. Jossey Bass.

Conyers, M. & Wilson, D. (2016). Smarter teacher leadership: Neuroscience and the power of purposeful collaboration. Teachers College Press.

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Sebastian, J., Camburn, E.M., & Spillane, J.P. (2018). Portraits of principal practice: Time allocation and school principal work. Educational Administration Quarterly, 54(1) 47-84.

Smylie, M., Conley, S., & Marks, H.M. (2002). Exploring new approaches to teacher leadership for school improvement. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, 101, 162-188.

Smylie, M. & Denny, J. (1990). Teacher leadership: Tensions and ambiguities in organizational perspective. Educational Administration Quarterly, 26(3), 235-259.

Wenner, J. & Campbell, T. (2017). The theoretical and empirical basis of teacher leadership: A review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 87(1), 134-171.

Tiffany M. Squires ( is assistant professor of educational leadership.

Gerald LeTendre ( is professor.

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