The Teacher Leader KnowledgeBase

Element 1: Understand the Teacher Leader Concept

Purpose: A brief from the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality on the role of teacher leadership in education innovation states, "Teacher leadership is the process by which teachers, individually or collectively, formally influence their colleagues, principals, and other members of the school community to improve teaching and learning practices with the goal of increased student learning and achievement." There are different forms of teacher leader roles including "teacher leader," "master teacher," "peer mentor," or "academic coach." Element 1 provides overview information on the approaches to and models of teacher leadership.

Activity 1: Be Aware of Teacher Leader Approaches and Models

Activity 2: Study Organizational Dynamics

Element 2: Prepare to Be a Teacher Leader

Purpose: A teacher aspiring to be a "teacher leader," "master teacher," "peer mentor" or "academic coach" should first investigate the nature of such role, how the role might fit with his or her abilities, and identify the associated educational and certification/licensure requirements of each role. Element 2 provides information to assist a teacher in preparing for a teacher leader role.

Activity 1: Explore Teacher Leader Role

Activity 2: Learn About Teacher Leader Education Programs

Element 3: Recruit Teacher Leaders

Purpose: To recruit teacher leaders effectively, a district needs to have a plan of action. The plan should identify the teacher leader role within the district, define the prerequisites for the role, and reflect applicable state standards or certification or licensure guidelines and an awareness of educational programs providing course work associated with the teacher leader role. Element 3 provides resources to assist the district in developing such a plan.

Activity 1: Determine Teacher Leader Roles

Activity 2: Learn About Teacher Leader Education Programs

Task 4: Use Data to Support and Facilitate Effective Instructional Strategies


Guideline: Within the classroom, the use of data takes many forms. Teachers in leadership roles assist their colleagues in understanding the forms of data and their use in formulating instructional strategies and assessing students. This task provides resources to assist teacher leaders in supporting their colleagues.

Using Data

Using data effectively involves understanding how to use it and being aware of the challenges that entails. The lists offered from Getting Excited About Data (2nd ed): Combining People, Passion and Proof to Maximize Student Achievement highlight how high performing schools use data as well as listing challenges and impediments faced.

Answering Questions That Count

This article from ASCD's Educational Leadership publication explores questions that should be addressed when analyzing student data.


Data Analysis: Analyzing Your State Assessment Data

This link is to the School Improvement in Maryland website's information on data analysis. Though intended for Maryland districts, the content may be useful to educators in other states.


Data Sources

This document contains links to national and state education data sources. The content may be useful to educators when developing a school profile.


Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making

This link is to an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide on the use of student achievement data. As noted in the document's overview, "The purpose of this practice guide is to help K-12 teachers and administrators use student achievement data to make instructional decisions intended to raise student achievement."

Element 4: Act as a Teacher Leader

Purpose: A teacher in a peer leadership role helps colleagues improve their professional practice, supports collaboration and instructional strategies, and encourages professional learning. Fulfilling these roles successfully is the essence of teacher leadership. Element 4 provides resources to assist in becoming an effective teacher leader.

Activity 1: Act as a Peer Mentor/Coach to Improve Professional Practice of Colleagues

Activity 2: Support Collaboration and Instructional Strategies

Activity 3: Advocate for Professional Learning

Element 5: Improve as a Teacher Leader

Purpose: Teachers in leadership roles must attend to their own continuing professional learning to enhance their abilities to support colleagues to improve their instructional capabilities. Teacher leaders could have a dual teaching role, one with their students and the other with their peers. Element 5 provides resources to assist teacher leaders in addressing their professional learning.

Activity 1: Develop Individual Professional Learning Plan