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5 Ways to Foster Teacher Leadership

The bedrock of a great school is shared leadership. All stakeholders must have a seat at the decision-making table. This ensures that the vision and direction of the school is decided upon collectively and in the best interest of all parties. Teachers are key players in the process and need to be encouraged to step into leadership roles. After all, great leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.

1. Have Teachers Lead Professional Development Trainings

Professional development for teachers should be designed, implemented, and vetted by teachers. Training days need to be planned by the individuals who will be tasked with implementing the new program or idea. Furthermore, teachers should be in charge of running the training. Teachers should be modeling and providing information to their colleagues. Teachers will respond better to a training designed and implemented by their colleagues that one created by administration.

2. Have An Administrative Designee

There are times when a school is left without an administrator on campus due to meetings, illness, or travel. A teacher should be chosen as the administrative designee and be able to make decisions for the school as needed throughout the day.This is a great model to use for teachers who want to become administrators. Rotating this position throughout the year will give multiple teachers exposures to the work that happens up in the office and give them the opportunity to lead.

3. Inclusive Leadership Teams

A school’s leadership team should comprise of a mix of administration, teachers, and support staff. Teachers need to have a seat at this table in order to ensure that their voices are heard. Decisions about curriculum, programs, innovations, and school procedures should involve the largest non-student group on campus: teachers. Without a voice at the table, teacher will be less likely to support new initiatives. Having these new ideas vetted and discussed by teacher leaders will give the initiative stronger legs to stand on and provide a path for success.

4. Walk-throughs

Last year, I wrote a highly circulated article on classroom walk-throughs. That article is featured on my website ( as well as several educational journals. In that article, I stress the importance of having teachers participate in the walk-through process in order to see first-hand the various instructional practices happening around campus. It is also an opportunity for teacher leaders to see what their colleagues need assistance on in the classroom. These walk-throughs could lead to teachers designing PD based on the data that they collect.

5. New Teacher Mentorship Program

New teachers need a vast amount of support during the first two years of their career. While administration is there to help guide them, providing new teachers with a teacher mentor can help create an inclusive school culture as well as provide veteran teachers with leadership opportunities. The bonds that form will also help to keep these new teachers at their school as they will feel supported.


Dr. David Franklin, CEO of The Principal’s Desk, is an experienced school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. He is the co-author of Can All Schools Succeed. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences as is available for school and district professional development sessions. He can be reached at or at

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