The journey of becoming a distinguished elementary teacher leader

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Robin A. Finberg (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Ulrich Reitzug

Abstract: Historically teachers have primarily operated within the confines of their classrooms. However, school environments have started to shift leadership opportunities that have traditionally been exclusive to administrative positions, by empowering teachers to lead school initiatives as well as holding them accountable for leadership through annual evaluation instruments. Yet, it is not enough for teachers simply to be invited to the decision making process. Leadership is not handed out like blue books for a college examination it is largely up to teachers themselves to locate and leverage opportunities for professional growth and personal development that will increase their qualifications and credibility for leadership (IEL, 2001). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the attributes, experiences, and environments of identified elementary distinguished teacher leaders and their principals. A qualitative interview study design was chosen to examine the perceptions of these individuals in order to conceptualize how teachers develop from teacher to distinguished teacher leader. This study has three broad objectives: to identify the responsibilities teachers must assume to be perceived as a distinguished teacher leader, to determine what the costs and benefits are of being a distinguished teacher leader, and to identify the factors, conditions, or attributes that either support or impede the development of becoming a distinguished teacher leader. The interview data revealed that one's ability to transform from teacher to distinguished teacher leader does not occur through a series of steps or indicators that one can simply check off. In fact, this transformation is much more complex and is primarily driven by one's intrinsic motivation, self-awareness, and opportunities to lead. The study examines the professional environments, experiences, cost and benefits, and leadership values of identified distinguished teacher leaders and themes related to these four areas emerged from the data.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Distinguished, Journey, Leadership, Teacher
Educational leadership $z North Carolina
Elementary school teachers $z North Carolina
Teaching $z North Carolina

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