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NNSTOY Releases Report on Teacher Leadership

A new study from the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) introduces compelling research on the characteristics of teacher leaders and factors that challenge or support them. The report, Great to Influential: Teacher Leaders’ Roles in Supporting Instruction, follows up on the 2014 study From Good to Great: Exemplary Teachers Share Perspectives on Increasing Teacher Effectiveness Across the Career Continuum. In light of the new study’s findings, the report suggests strategies for school districts to capitalize on the assets presented by teacher leaders, ranging from providing broader career path options to increasing their interaction with preservice and novice educators.

NNSTOY defines teacher leadership as “the process by which highly effective educators take on roles at the classroom, school, district, state, or national levels in order to advance the profession, improve educator effectiveness, and/or increase access to great teaching and learning for all students.” Study participants said teacher leaders also actively seek opportunities to act as change agents, both in their own schools and classrooms and on a larger scale.

Particularly relevant to preservice preparation, the state teachers of the year participating in the study said working with preservice and novice teachers inspires them to share their best work and cultivate strong self-reflection skills in their junior partners—which in turn pushes their own practice forward. The report also highlights the previous NNSTOY study’s findings that adjunct or clinical faculty with recent PK-12 teaching experience were seen as more effective at connecting research to practice than other professors; this report notes that serving in this key connecting role may be an important career path to consider for teacher leaders.

The Great Teachers and Leaders Center at the American Institutes for Research coproduced the report in conjunction with AACTE and other NNSTOY partner organizations. To read more and download the full report, visit http://www.nnstoy.org/publications/great-to-influential/.  

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