Sydney Chaffee knew that she wanted to be a teacher when she was in college and realized that she wanted to be in class learning new things all the time. Matthew Condon loved school so much as a child that he decided before college that he wanted to teach in his home district. Kevin Cormier became a teacher when he realized most of the teens buying music in his record store couldn’t count out their change. And Hatice Nigdelioglu, who immigrated to the United States from Turkey as a young adult, became a teacher to give a voice to other immigrant students.
These four educators each followed a unique path to the classroom, but they are on the same road now. Chaffee, Condon, Cormier and Nigdelioglu are four of the many teacher leaders making a difference in schools across Massachusetts and nationwide. With support from their peers, principals and district leaders, teacher leaders have created and found leadership roles that enable them to deepen their impact on students, coach and support their peers, mentor new or struggling teachers and influence school district and state education policies—all while continuing to work directly with students in the classroom.
Teacher leadership has the potential to change school culture, improve instructional practice and education policies, and ultimately help address some of the most complex challenges in our public schools. The problem is that not everyone understands the breadth of the impact that teacher leadership can have, or how to realize it in their school or district.
With the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation we have created a set of resources and a new website to build a common understanding around teacher leadership and to help educators identify, build and expand opportunities for teachers to take on leadership opportunities in their schools or districts. The site is divided in to three sections:
- The Case for Teacher Leadership: The argument for teacher leadership and how its growth can benefit schools, districts, teachers and students
- Teacher Leadership in Action: Videos and stories about what four exemplary teacher leaders – Sydney Chaffee, Matthew Condon, Kevin Cormier, and Hatice Nigdelioglu – have been able to accomplish in their schools, districts and across the state
- Building a Sustainable Structure: Advice for school and district leaders from The Teacher Collaborative on how to create structures to elevate teacher voices and create teacher advisories
Soon we will also be adding a library of the go-to resources for teacher leaders around the country.
We hope you enjoy these resources and urge you to share them with your networks and on social media using our hashtag #TLinAction. Please reach out to Heidi Guarino with any thoughts, questions or suggestions for resources to share to new ones to create.