Building on our creation and rollout of teacher leadership this year, we propose a two-year Lead Teacher training cycle that provides tiered support, targeted professional development, and team-building designed to enhance teachers’ capacity to lead from the classroom while affecting real change and growth for all students. We envision year one of the cycle as an apprentice year for teachers to learn more about teacher leadership from and with school administrators and teachers already serving in leadership roles. In year two, apprentice teachers assume the full role of Lead Teachers--facilitating departmental meetings, serving on the Instructional Leadership Team, and mentoring an incoming cohort of apprentice teacher leaders. In alignment with current research, we believe the sustainability of school initiatives, such as the one we outline here, defines their true value. We envision a differentiated approach to leadership development in a high support model to ensure appropriate levels of rigor and support for teacher leaders at all stages of development. For example, apprentice teacher leaders receive training in fundamental skills (facilitative leadership, data inquiry, etc.) while current and more experienced Lead Teachers engage in a Critical Friends group, a process for developing collegiality, engaging in reflective conversations, and seeking input from trusted peers to rethink leadership challenges.
Idea No. 368