Develop Teacher Leaders
to lead colleagues in learning for continuous improvement
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Give your peer leaders the training and support they deserve.

Three weeks into my first year as a teacher, I am standing in the hallway at dismissal when the director of instruction gently approaches me and says, "Elisa, the principal wondered if you could lead your team's meeting?"

 

"Today?" I ask, slightly panicked that the meeting starts in fifteen minutes, and I have never led a team of adults before, let alone five colleagues with more experience than me.

 

He musters up his best smile and says, "For the year." He adds, "Just put a couple of things down on paper as the agenda and try to get people to stick to it. You'll be fine."

 

My entrypoint into team leadership is what I call an instant coffee approach: Start with a group: Just add leader. And as you might imagine, this approach yielded as much richness as, well, instant coffee. I am so grateful to the first team of teachers that I led, but I would hardly call what I did leading my colleagues in learning for student achievement."

~Elisa MacDonald. Excerpt from The Skillful Team Leader p.3

Peer leaders (e.g., teacher leaders, instructional coaches, department leads) charged with leading teams and initiatives are doing more than facilitating meetings.They are leading their colleagues in learning for continuous improvement.

 

While teachers are skilled practitioners in the classroom,

they want and need support when leading their peers. 

 

I believe in creating a robust system of supports where peer leaders and the administrators who support them are all involved.  Let's work together to design and implement, or build upon your existing, teacher leadership training and development program.

Are your district, school and peer leaders ready to learn...?

Peer leaders can learn how to:

  • lead collaborative inquiry, change initiatives and staff development

  • design engaging, purposeful adult learning experiences

  • set meaningful student-learning goals and action plans

  • lead data analysis with colleagues, including looking at student work

  • interrupt bias, assumptions and unsound reasoning

  • cultivate diverse perspectives and flexible thinking

  • manage conflict and navigate resistance

  • lead peer observations

  • facilitate text-based discussions and protocols effectively

  • reflect and set leadership growth goals

  • nurture a culture of community, shared responsibility, and vulnerability-based trust

District and school leaders who support peer leaders can learn to:

  • design clear priorities for peer leaders to direct their work 

  • notice specific indicators of peer leader and teacher team impact

  • give specific feedback to peer leaders for their development

  • co-create leadership growth goals and an action plan to reach them

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This experience was so rewarding on so many levels. It was the first time that department meetings had value and I looked forward to each meeting. Your coaching was superb and sorely missed when it was over... Every school system should have an Elisa MacDonald.

- Mary B., Science teacher leader

Your training has transformed how I think about problem solving in schools, whether it's math, team meetings or social and emotional learning.  I am less intimidated when dealing with challenging issues and have a whole new perspective about how to operate in schools.

 

- Georgia N., Math Teacher Leader

Elisa helped to validate and support the direction I wanted to take my (team of) teachers in as we embarked on remote learning. She helped me to make leadership decisions that positively impacted teacher learning and practice.

-Crystal S., Content Instructional Leader

 

 

I think I learned the most by just observing you lead us. You are so clearly masterful at this craft! While I was asked to fill this (teacher leadership) role, as opposed to volunteering for it, I think you've provided the supports I need to be successful. Thanks!

- Jesse C., Science Teacher Leader

 

I really enjoyed the course - it is somewhat out of my comfort zone and Elisa made it feel really safe.

-Michelle F, Middle school teacher leader

Elisa tracked our work on a shared Google Doc. Throughout the week, I refer back to the document. I occasionally add questions and Elisa always responds with meaningful ideas. For example, I created a presentation for TCT on the purpose of anchor texts and how to identify best texts. Elisa provided valuable feedback on the presentation along with how teachers can utilize anchor texts in ways I had not yet imagined. After the PD, Elisa brainstormed next steps with me on how we can revisit the work in the Fall. Elisa's support has greatly improved my work. She is an incredible resource.

-Nancy H., Content Instructional Leader