How teachers learn to lead

Programs build knowledge and skills teachers need to be influential beyond their classrooms

By Jill Harrison Berg
June 2019
Vol. 40, No. 3
While many schools are experimenting with new fads and formulas in an effort to ensure that all students receive what they need to be successful, others have begun to look anew at the resources they already have: teachers. Each teacher brings a unique combination of knowledge, skills, experiences, passions, and talents to his or her school, just as students do to their classrooms. When teachers are able to exchange expertise, challenge each other to meet high expectations, and support each other to meet them, they better serve their own students while also being a tremendous resource for improving the quality of each other’s teaching. They become teacher leaders. When teachers are able to exchange expertise, challenge each other to meet high expectations, and support each

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Jill Harrison Berg

Jill Harrison Berg ( is a researcher and consultant on teacher leadership and systemic improvement.


Berg, J.H. (2018). Leading in sync: Teacher leaders & principals working together for student learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Berg, J.H., Horn, P., Supovitz, J., & Margolis, J. (2019). Typology of teacher leadership programs (Research Report #RR 2019-1). Philadelphia, PA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania.

Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession. (2018). Teacher leadership skills framework. Available at

Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M.E., Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute.

Johnson, S.M. (2019). Where teachers thrive: Organizing schools for success. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in action. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: Author.

National Policy Board for Educational Administration. (2015). Professional Standards for Educational Leaders 2015. Reston, VA: Author.

Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium. (2011). Teacher Leader Model Standards. Carrboro, NC: Author. Available at

Teacher Leadership Institute. (n.d.). Competencies. Available at

Image for aesthetic effect only - Jill Harrison Berg

Jill Harrison Berg is a leadership coach, school improvement consultant, researcher, and writer committed to maximizing the leadership potential of teachers. Berg is the author of Leading in Sync: Teacher Leaders and Principals Working Together for Student Learning (ASCD, 2018). Her monthly column, “Leading Together,” in ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine aims to heighten leaders’ attention to the complementary roles that teacher leaders and administrators must play in restructuring and re-culturing schools for equity and excellence.

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