When do Teachers Transform from Teacher to Teacher Leader?

Shirley Ison-Newsome, the venerable administrator who oversees Dallas ISD’s southeast quadrant of elementary schools, traditionally begins teacher convocations by asking all leaders to please stand.  (You quickly learn to stand up immediately.)  Her implication is, of course, that all teachers are teacher leaders.

But are we, really?

Patrick Ledesma of Leading from the Classroom maintains that there is a distinct transformation a teacher undergoes to become a teacher leader, and that not all of us are necessarily ready to make the change.

When do teachers shift their mindset to see themselves as active contributors in the profession, rather than “passive” participants? What are the personal and professional factors in making this transformation?

Can all teachers become teacher leaders? If so, what supports do they need? Or, is there something internal in each individual that either encourages or limits one’s professional growth potential?

These are the important questions to be asked in helping bring about this much needed transformation in our profession.


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