Awakening the Sleeping Giant

by Marilyn Katzenmeyer and Gayle Moller


Chapter 1
  • the principal cannot be the only leader in the school; teachers must assume leadership roles
  • many factors discourage teachers from becoming leaders
  • irony of teachers become leaders by leaving the classroom and becoming administrators
  • teacher leadership is using your influence to improve others' educational practices
  • teacher leadership roles
    • leadership of students or other teachers
    • operational tasks (serving on committees, action research)
    • decision making or partnerships (school improvement team, work with parents and community)
  • how to start down the leadership path
    • start small
    • help principal see value of teacher leadership
    • look for leadership roles available in your school
    • provide colleages with recognition for their leadership
Thoughts on Ch. 1
  • Emphasis on standardized tests reduced teachers opportunities to lead
  • Too many mandates; teachers aren't allowed to think for themselves
  • Pay scales don't attract people with leadership potential

Chapter 4 - Honoring the Uniqueness of Teacher Leaders
  • Not everyone is ready, willing and able to be a teacher leader
  • Teachers who want to be leaders need to know themselves and the skills needed to lead
  • Teachers will want to follow teachers who are successful in their own classrooms
    • Enthusiastic, willing, and honest
    • Excellent instructional strategies
  • Sometimes what goes on at the school doesn't reflect a teacher's educational philosophy
  • Teachers come to the profession at various times and stages of their lives
    • Fresh out of school
    • Second careers
    • After raising families
  • Teacher leaders need to know what stage their colleagues are in and their personal views
    • Does this teacher consider it a job or a mission?
    • Does this teacher prefer working alone?
    • Does this teacher prefer the status quo or embrace change?
    • Does this teacher look to the past or the future?
    • Does this teacher have multiple outside concerns?
      • Family
      • Personal health
      • No family support for leadership
      • Cultural or religious bias against leadership

Value Diversity
Seek to understand and include others

Various Stages
  • Exploration: new teachers with interest should be encouraged for retention
  • Establishment: seasoned teachers may want to begin to step out of the classroom into leadership
  • Maintenence: older teachers learning new approaches to revitalize their career
  • Disengagement: previously active leaders train others to fill their shoes
  • Withdrawal: recruiting from this group may help them from withdrawing further

Actions for teacher leader preparation
  1. Keep a journal of skills, knowledge, and experiences
  2. Analyze a reluctant teacher
  3. Chart the stages of a faculty

Two quotes come to mind while reflecting on this chapter:
"To thine own self be true," which correlates with self-awareness of teacher leaders and "To every thing there is a season," which correlates with the idea that the timing for teacher leaders may not be right, but it is still valid. (posted by Noreen)

Ch. 5: Building a Culture that Supports Teacher Leadership

Camelot School
  • Characteristics
    • Moveable partitions
    • Parents, business leaders welcomed
    • Individual student focus
    • Data analysis
    • Blocks of time for professional development'
    • Teacher teams encourage active, in-depth learning
    • Work with univ. professors and grad students

  • Context of school is central to success of teacher leadership
  • Positive culture=teacher leadership=positive student outcomes

Characteristics of school culture based on teacher leadership
  • development focus
  • recognition
  • autonomy
  • collegiality
  • participation
  • open communication
  • positive environment

  • Potential for conflict between principals and would-be teacher leaders
  • Shared leadership produces improved teaching and learning
  • Hard to teachers to lead other teachers
  • "Reculturing" the school: create a more collaborative work culture

Organizational Structures

  • "Houses" within the school
    • groups of students work with cohort of teachers
  • Collaborative faculty meetings
  • Explicit systems for recogition, communication, participation
  • Principsl must give up power

Actions of the Principal
  • Movement toward shared leadership since 1990s
  • Schools as professional learning communities
  • Training of principals has not caught up
  • Standards 1 and 2, p.84
  • Principals as buffer between teachers and outside forces


  • Principals who give teachers power increase their own power

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Ch. 8: Anticipating the Future of Teacher Leadership

  • Critical factors
    • Committment from administrators
    • Restructuring the promote teacher leadership
    • Recognize importance of developing teacher leaders.
  • What has to change?
    • teachers need more self-confidence in their leadership skills
    • Long-term pd opportunities
    • Address teachers' fears of criticism from peers
    • allow teachers to teach and lead
    • principals need correct mindset
    • More flexible contracts and policies
    • Change antiquated schedules and calendars
    • More money for teachers
  • Examples of Promising Teacher Leadership Efforts
    • East Jessamine High School, Kentucky
      • 3-dimensional power structure: administrators, teachers, and students
    • University of LaVerne, California
      • allow teachers to acquire leadership skills
      • Summer Institute
    • Austin, TX Independent School District
      • teachers engage in personal assessment
      • plan and carry out a project every year
    • STEP Program, University of South Florida
      • Prepare leaders for school reform
      • Take classes with cohort
      • Research project for each teacher
  • Teacher Leadership in the Future
    • Students no longer passive
    • University professors spend most of their time in the classroom
    • Distance learning through technology
    • Certification based on district, state and national standards
    • Teacher leaders serve as models for students