Teacher Leadership In an Urban Setting



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As the presence of teacher leaders becomes increasing ubiquitous, initiatives to identify, develop, and support those leaders are also increasing. However, despite this growth in practice, a consensus has not been reached on a broadly accepted definition of teacher leadership, and questions remain as to how teacher leaders evaluate their own effectiveness. Simultaneously, there has been a growth in initiatives created to identify, train, and support teachers who are willing to participate in a variety of leadership roles at the campus level. Therefore, in Study 1 of this journal-ready dissertation, I sought to verify, by way of a systematic literature review, if there has been progress regarding researchers establishing an accepted definition of teacher leadership and of teacher leader practices. My findings confirmed that no universally adopted definition has yet emerged, despite the pervasive influence of York-Barr and Duke’s (2004) proposed definition. Additionally, research results led to the conclusion that teacher leaders are experienced, exemplar teachers who, by means of a variety of opportunities and experiences, have been equipped to lead. In Study 2, through an analysis of archival program data, I examined the experiences of teacher leaders who participated in a district-wide teacher leader initiative. Results indicated that teacher leaders found program participation to be beneficial and that they valued the leadership opportunities provided to them by the program. Additionally, program cohort members expressed a growing awareness that participation in the initiative fostered a process of change. At the conclusion of their year-long experience, teacher leaders witnessed personal and professional growth that had resulted in their becoming agents of change as they correspondingly became agents changed.



Teacher leader, Teacher leadership, Distributed leadership, School reform, Teacher professional development