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Teacher/Educator leadership key to improving student learning, advancing profession

NEA Vice President Becky Pringle addresses importance of teacher/educator leadership at ASCD Whole Child Symposium

WASHINGTON - December 03, 2014 -

The role of teachers as leaders has the potential to boost both the processes of teaching and learning and also the teaching profession. Education leaders and advocates discussed this topic today as well as how to define the role of teacher/educator leadership at ASCD’s 2014 Whole Child Symposium held at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

There is widespread agreement about the value of teacher leaders and the importance of recognizing and even cultivating this role. There is confusion, however, around defining the teacher-leader role. The goal of the event is to provide concrete actions and steps that educators can take to improve education systems, processes and outcomes for students.

National Education Association Vice President Becky Pringle appeared on a panel focusing on organizational and systems-level approaches to teacher leadership. “NEA has been working to transform educators into leaders with a focus on student learning and professional practice,” said Pringle. “From classroom teachers to counselors to paraprofessionals to administrators, all the adults in the education community are responsible for developing safe, supportive and challenging environments for students.”

NEA has developed a range of programs and initiatives to develop educators within three frames of Next Generation Leadership:

  • Instructional Leadership: Leading to improve student learning and professional practice;
  • Policy Leadership: Leading to impact education and social policy that supports quality teaching and learning; and
  • Union Leadership: Leading to build the next generation of a strong, unified, and student-centered education association.

“Our goal is to increase and support leadership opportunities for educators in schools across the country. We are working to position teachers and Education Support Professionals so they can play a leadership role in the collective efforts between educators, parents, the community, and policymakers in order to collectively take responsibility for student learning and advance our profession,” said Pringle.

NEA has developed “Future of the Profession” fellowships to empower educators in the first 10 years of their careers to lead and shape education policy and prepare the next generation of educator leaders. This project focuses on providing experiences and professional opportunities so teachers can gain a foundation in education policy, research, and best practices from around the nation.

NEA has also partnered with the Center for Teaching Quality and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to establish the Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI), an effort to develop a new generation of leaders within the teaching profession. TLI participants receive a comprehensive, year-long teacher leadership training complete with a leadership capstone project, where our newly trained leaders put their leadership skills into action.

“NEA members know that their voices must be present in decisions that impact their students, classrooms, and schools. NEA’s ‘classroom-up’ approach develops empowered educators,” said Pringle. “With the support and backing of good policy and the collaboration of critical partners, we can strengthen public education so that all students thrive.”

To view ASCD’s 2014 Whole Child Symposium online, please click here. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @NEAMedia and @ASCD and following #WCS14.

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The National Education Association ( is the nation’s largest professional employee organization representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson  (202) -822-7823,