The impact of teacher leadership on school effectiveness in selected exemplary secondary schools



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Texas A&M University


This qualitative study used naturalistic inquiry methodology to study the impact that teacher leadership has on school effectiveness. Two suburban high schools were chosen for this study. Both of these schools had been rated as exemplary in 2002 by the Texas Education Agency. Interviews, observations, and surveys were used to obtain data. Through these, seven categories emerged that were used to create a written description of teacher leadership on the campuses. Teacher leadership in the past, teacher leadership roles, teacher leadership enablers, teacher leadership restraints, products of teacher leadership, teacher leadership in the present, and the role of the principal emerged when the data were analyzed. The findings indicated that when teacher leadership played a role on these campuses there was an expectation by school administrators that teachers would be leaders. Principals on both campuses had a vision of student success. Communication between school administrators and teacher leaders was strong. Overall, the role of the principal had a powerful impact on teacher leadership and consequently school effectiveness. Teacher leadership being fostered and supported was in large part due to the efforts of the principal. Recommendations for practice suggest that a) district level personnel need to work from a definition of school leadership that includes teachers when they hire campus principals, b) principals must take intentional steps to actively encourage teacher leadership, c) principals must clearly understand the amount of effort collaborative leadership demands of them, d) principals should seek out evidence that teacher leadership is impacting the school, and e) principals should consider what resources need to be allocated to foster and sustain teacher leadership on campus.