Building an “army” of leaders: a case study of a school system developing teachers’ leadership capacities

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jeffrey B. Moss (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Carl Lashley

Abstract: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) issued a mandate in 2009 that all teachers must demonstrate leadership. This mandate created a subsequent need for school systems across North Carolina to further develop their teachers as leaders. While NCDPI defined "teachers demonstrating leadership" through various elements of the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards (NCPTS), a review of the literature indicated a diverse set of definitions of teacher leadership that exist, a variety of pathways by which teacher leadership development has been approached, and scholarly debate over how researchers might determine the nature of effective professional development. The extant literature pointed toward case study as a useful method for examining these issues. Moreover, elements of the extant literature framed a paradox whereby NCDPI's mandate that all teachers demonstrate leadership was to be fulfilled within a historically underprofessionalized field of practice. This case study examined the nature of one North Carolina school district's teacher leadership development program, how district leaders viewed their role in distributing leadership and developing their teachers as leaders, the nature of what and how teachers learned about teacher leadership through participation in the program, and what other school districts and practitioners might learn from the results of this case study. Methodologies for this case study included a qualitative survey of 16 out of the 26 teachers who participated in the program's fourth cohort, two rounds of interviews with seven of these teachers who acted as key informants before and after they had completed the program, interviews with the superintendent and three other district-level administrators who had taken part in developing and implementing the program, and various elements of programmatic document review. A major component of this document review entailed an analysis of themes that were present across all of the 79 participants' end-of-program written reflections that had been submitted to and archived by their superintendent over the first four years of the program's existence. These reflections were written in response to an identical set of questions and prompts. The results of this case study were examined through a bifocal conceptual framework that focused on distributed leadership to consider the views and experiences of those in the school system who developed the program and constructivist learning to consider the views and experiences of teachers who completed the program. Through this bifocal framework, seven examples were identified of how teachers' leadership capacities were developed through constructivist forms of learning. Moreover, results from this case study suggested that there were four ways in which the program aligned with scholarly views on the professionalization of teaching and two ways in which this program misaligned with such views. The conclusion of this case study also includes two possible areas for future research as well as a guiding set of questions that are intended to help school systems conceptualize a framework for their own teacher leadership development.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Constructivist Learning, Distributed leadership, District leadership, Leadership development, Professional development, Teacher Leadership
Educational leadership $z North Carolina
Teachers $x In-service training $z North Carolina
Teachers $x Training of $z North Carolina
Mentoring in education

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