Teacher Leader Model Standards

Access the Teacher Leader Standards Brochure

About the Standards

In May 2008, a group of concerned educators convened to examine the current research and
thinking about the critical leadership roles that teachers play in contributing to student and
school success. These educators believe that teacher leadership is a potentially powerful
strategy to promote effective, collaborative teaching practices in schools that lead to increased
student achievement, improved decision making at the school and district level, and create a
dynamic teaching profession for the 21st century.


This initial group subsequently expanded its membership and mission to form the
Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium, which represents a broad array of education
organizations, state education agencies, teacher leaders, principals, superintendents, and
institutions of higher education (a list of members follows this preface). This expanded group
embarked on the development of model standards for teacher leadership in August 2008 and
has now completed its work.


The purpose of these standards—like all model standards—is to stimulate
dialogue among stakeholders of the teaching profession about what
constitutes the knowledge, skills, and competencies that teachers need to
assume leadership roles in their schools, districts, and the profession.


About the Consortium: Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium consists of representatives of the following entities - State Education Agencies, Institutions of Higher Education, National Organizations, and, Practitioners. Practitioners reflected teachers and teacher leaders, principals, and superintendents. These individuals, representing a wide array of beliefs and positions, worked collegially for two and a half years, coming to consensus around the critical issues regarding teacher leadership. For a full list of the members, please see below. While many of these members are no longer affiliated with the institution the represented at the time, both they, and their institutions, remain passionately devoted to the standards and to the concept of teacher leadership.

Affiliation Name Representative
American Federation of Teachers Rosalind LaRocque
American Institutes for Research Molly Lasagna
Arkansas Department of Education Beverly Williams
Bayonne Public Schools Deborah Shine
Bethel College Allen Jantz
Brandeis University Vivian Troen
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Cheryl Hickey
Center for Teaching Quality Barnett Berry
Ann Byrd
Council of Chief State School Officers Lois Adams-Rodgers
Mary Canole
Kathleen Paliokas
Dolphin Terrace Elementary School, Ysleta Independent School District, Texas Dana Boyd* and Kristen Navarro
Edgar Allan Poe Middle School, San Antonio Independent School District, Texas Kimberly Ash
Education Commission of the States Barbara Thompson
Educational Testing Service Katherine Bassett*
Gregory Vafis
Fairfax County School District, Virginia Leslie Butz
Jack Dale
Georgia Professional Standards Commission Kelly Henson
Tom Higgins
Harvard Graduate School of Education Katherine Boles
Kansas State Department of Education Pamela Coleman
Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board Robert Brown
Phillip Rogers
Learning Forward/National Staff Development Council Joellen Killion
Malverne School District, New York Steven Gilhuley
Marguerite Izzo*
Montclair State University Ada Beth Cutler
National Association of Elementary School Principals Carol Riley
National Education Association Linda Davin
Segun Eubanks
New Jersey Department of Education Eileen Aviss-Spedding
Christopher Campisano
Victoria Duff
Ohio Department of Education Marilyn Troyer
Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission Keith Menk
Princeton University Anne Catena
State of Tennessee Board of Education David Sevier
Temple University Heidi Ramirez
The Danielson Group Charlotte Danielson
University of Phoenix
Meredith Curley
Vernon Township High School, New Jersey Peggy Stewart* **
Virginia Commonwealth University Terry Knecht Dozier ** ***
Walla Walla School District, Washington Anne Swant**
Washington Professional Educator Standards Board Esther BakerJoseph Koski
West Virginia Department of Education Nathan Estel
Karen Huffman

The seven domains of the TLSM are listed below:

Domain I: Fostering a Collaborative Culture to Support Educator Development and Student Learning.

The teacher leader understands the principles of adult learning and knows how to develop a collaborative culture of collective responsibility in the school. The teacher leader uses this knowledge to promote an environment of collegiality, trust, and respect that focuses on continuous improvement in instruction and student learning.

The teacher leader:
a) Utilizes group processes to help colleagues work collaboratively to solve problems, make decisions, manage conflict, and promote meaningful change;
b) Models effective skills in listening, presenting ideas, leading discussions, clarifying, mediating, and identifying the needs of self and others in order to advance shared goals and professional learning;
c) Employs facilitation skills to create trust among colleagues, develop collective wisdom, build ownership and action that supports student learning;
d) Strives to create an inclusive culture where diverse perspectives are welcomed in addressing challenges; and
e) Uses knowledge and understanding of different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and languages to promote effective interactions among colleagues.

Domain II: Accessing and Using Research to Improve Practice and Student Learning

The teacher leader understands how research creates new knowledge, informs policies and practices and improves teaching and learning. The teacher leader models and facilitates the use of systematic inquiry as a critical component of teachers’ ongoing learning and development.

The teacher leader:
a) Assists colleagues in accessing and using research in order to select appropriate strategies to improve student learning;
b) Facilitates the analysis of student learning data, collaborative interpretation of results, and application of findings to improve teaching and learning;
c) Supports colleagues in collaborating with the higher education institutions and other organizations engaged in researching critical educational issues;
d) Teaches and supports colleagues to collect, analyze, and communicate data from their classrooms to improve teaching and learning.

Domain III: Promoting Professional Learning for Continuous Improvement

The teacher leader understands the evolving nature of teaching and learning, established and emerging technologies, and the school community. The teacher leader uses this knowledge to promote, design, and facilitate job-embedded professional learning aligned with school improvement goals.

The teacher leader:
a) Collaborates with colleagues and school administrators to plan professional learning that is team-based, job-embedded, sustained over time, aligned with content standards, and linked to school/district improvement goals;
b) Uses information about adult learning to respond to the diverse learning needs of colleagues by identifying, promoting, and facilitating varied and differentiated professional learning;
c) Facilitates professional learning among colleagues;
d) Identifies and uses appropriate technologies to promote collaborative and differentiated professional learning;
e) Works with colleagues to collect, analyze, and disseminate data related to the quality of professional learning and its effect on teaching and student learning;
f) Advocates for sufficient preparation, time, and support for colleagues to work in teams to engage in job-embedded professional learning;
g) Provides constructive feedback to colleagues to strengthen teaching practice and improve student learning; and
h) Uses information about emerging education, economic, and social trends in planning and facilitating professional learning.

Domain IV: Facilitating Improvements in Instruction and Student Learning

The teacher leader demonstrates a deep understanding of the teaching and learning processes and uses this knowledge to advance the professional skills of colleagues by being a continuous learner and modeling reflective practice based on student results. The teacher leader works collaboratively with colleagues to ensure instructional practices are aligned to a shared vision, mission, and goals.

The teacher leader:
a) Facilitates the collection, analysis, and use of classroom- and school-based data to identify opportunities to improve curriculum, instruction, assessment, school organization, and school culture;
b) Engages in reflective dialog with colleagues based on observation of instruction, student work, and assessment data and helps make connections to research-based effective practices;
c) Supports colleagues’ individual and collective reflection and professional growth by serving in roles such as mentor, coach, and content facilitator;
d) Serves as a team leader to harness the skills, expertise, and knowledge of colleagues to address curricular expectations and student learning needs;
e) Uses knowledge of existing and emerging technologies to guide colleagues in helping students skillfully and appropriately navigate the universe of knowledge available on the Internet, use social media to promote collaborative learning, and connect with people and resources around the globe; and
f) Promotes instructional strategies that address issues of diversity and equity in the classroom and ensures that individual student learning needs remain the central focus of instruction.

Domain V: Promoting the Use of Assessments and Data for School and District Improvement

The teacher leader is knowledgeable about current research on classroom- and schoolbased data and the design and selection of appropriate formative and summative assessment methods. The teacher leader shares this knowledge and collaborates with colleagues to use assessment and other data to make informed decisions that improve learning for all students and to inform school and district improvement strategies.

The teacher leader:
a) Increases the capacity of colleagues to identify and use multiple assessment tools aligned to state and local standards;
b) Collaborates with colleagues in the design, implementation, scoring, and interpretation of student data to improve educational practice and student learning;
c) Creates a climate of trust and critical reflection in order to engage colleagues in challenging conversations about student learning data that lead to solutions to identified issues; and
d) Works with colleagues to use assessment and data findings to promote changes in instructional practices or organizational structures to improve student learning.

Domain VI: Improving Outreach and Collaboration with Families and Community

The teacher leader understands that families, cultures, and communities have a significant impact on educational processes and student learning. The teacher leader works with colleagues to promote ongoing systematic collaboration with families, community members, business and community leaders, and other stakeholders to improve the educational system and expand opportunities for student learning.

The teacher leader:
a) Uses knowledge and understanding of the different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and languages in the school community to promote effective interactions among colleagues, families, and the larger community;
b) Models and teaches effective communication and collaboration skills with families and other stakeholders focused on attaining equitable achievement for students of all backgrounds and circumstances;
c) Facilitates colleagues’ self-examination of their own understandings of community culture and diversity and how they can develop culturally responsive strategies to enrich the educational experiences of students and achieve high levels of learning for all students;
d) Develops a shared understanding among colleagues of the diverse educational needs of families and the community; and
e) Collaborates with families, communities, and colleagues to develop comprehensive strategies to address the diverse educational needs of families and the community.

Domain VII: Advocating for Student Learning and the Profession

The teacher leader understands how educational policy is made at the local, state, and national level as well as the roles of school leaders, boards of education, legislators, and other stakeholders in formulating those policies. The teacher leader uses this knowledge to advocate for student needs and for practices that support effective teaching and increase student learning, and serves as an individual of influence and respect within the school, community, and profession.

The teacher leader:
a) Shares information with colleagues within and/or beyond the district regarding how local, state, and national trends and policies can impact classroom practices and expectations for student learning;
b) Works with colleagues to identify and use research to advocate for teaching and learning processes that meet the needs of all students;
c) Collaborates with colleagues to select appropriate opportunities to advocate for the rights and/or needs of students, to secure additional resources within the building or district that support student learning, and to communicate effectively with targeted audiences such as parents and community members;
d) Advocates for access to professional resources, including financial support and human and other material resources, that allow colleagues to spend significant time learning about effective practices and developing a professional learning community focused on school improvement goals; and
e) Represents and advocates for the profession in contexts outside of the classroom.

Resource Library:

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Teacher Leadership Resources

Teacher Leadership Research

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