Developing teacher leaders
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Teacher leaders have existed in one form or another since the beginning of schools. They have been present throughout the history of educating students in schools and have been defined in a myriad of ways. The evolution of teacher leadership is mainly due to the changing role of a school principal. The job of principal has shifted from primarily the manager and facilitator of the building to include instructional leader of the school. One person cannot successfully fill all of these roles without the assistance of teacher leaders, formal and informal. The effects of teacher leadership in a school are seen through student learning, professional learning, collaboration and school improvement. This qualitative multiple case study examined how principals develop teacher leaders and the perceptions the teacher leaders have about this development. The purpose of this research is to explore how administrators select teachers to function as formal teacher leaders, the support they offer to develop these teacher leaders and how these selections affect the teachers who are chosen. Specifically, the researcher addressed these questions: 1) How do principals engage in the decision making process to select teachers for teacher leadership development? 2) What kinds of development/support do principals provide the teacher leaders they have selected? 3) What attitudes and perceptions do teacher leaders have about the development they have received? These research questions were approached through the lens of individualized consideration and idealized influence, components of Transformational Leadership Theory and Implicit Leadership Theory. The study was undergirded by Distributed Leadership Theory. Semi-structured interviews, field observations, and document collection were used as means to collect the data that led to the findings in this multiple case study. A middle school and a high school comprised the two cases. Purposeful sampling was used to select the principals of each case. They, in turn, recruited two of their formal teacher leaders each to participate in the study. The data was coded and sorted into categories in order to identify themes detailing their experiences and perceptions of teacher leadership.