Tomorrow’s Teacher Leaders: Nurturing a Disposition of Leadership
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 7 No. 4 (2006): Vol-7-Issue-4-April-2006
Until recently, the terms teacher and leadership were not often mentioned in the same sentence.
Educational leadership was synonymous with school administration, and teachers viewed themselves
as followers rather than leaders. Over the past fifteen years, this perception has changed. Due to
federal mandates such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Response to Intervention (RtI), teacher
roles and responsibilities have expanded (Le Cornu, 1999) and distributed school leadership has
become the norm (Danielson, 2006; Harrison & Killion, 2007).
Danielson (2006) defines teacher leaders as those who exert positive influence beyond their own
classrooms to improve school practices and enhance student learning. Teacher leaders are essential
to the success of today’s schools, yet 33-50% of all teachers leave the profession within the first five
years (Labone, 1994; Hanushek, Kain, & Rivkin, 2004). As a result, many schools lack the teacher
leadership they so desperately need.