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Teacher Leader Interviews

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Shelley Lozzi

on 5 July 2013

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Transcript of Teacher Leader Interviews

Current Views on the Roles
of Teacher Leaders

Ann Guy, Misty Hansen, Shelley Lozzi and Adam Umak
University of Phoenix
EDD 500 Personal Leadership
Angela Liggins
August 16, 2012
Peter Moran
Peter Moran was in elementary school when he realized the effect his grandfather had on a large number of students and families. “I went home and asked my dad what his job was, and my dad said he's a principal, and immediately I was just like, ‘That's what I want to do,’ ” said Moran. Moran graduated from Watkins Mill High School, earned a degree in education from James Madison University, and after a few years teaching in Fairfax County, Va., returned to Montgomery County to work as an assistant principal at Georgian Forest Elementary School and a principal-intern at Glen Haven Elementary School. Peter Moran was named the principal at Glenallan Elementary School last spring at the age 31. It was during the interview process, leaders in my school community saw his leadership strengths and potential as our school principal.

Thirty-nine percent of the school’s students are limited English proficient, so they do not speak English as their first language. Moran is learning Spanish, in part, to better communicate with Spanish-speaking parents. His empathy toward the teachers, students, and parents, show his love for the community and children. He has an open door policy and always makes time to talk students, parents and teachers. His presence has lead to many dynamic changes in our school community.
Who is Peter Moran?
To be able to deepen and discuss in a qualitative way how teacher leaders are perceived in different schools, we conducted interviews with school community stakeholders. The findings are first presented for all the individual stakeholders and then summarized.
Meet Our Interviewees
Born in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, Kelley Fujii grew up in a household filled with learning all around her. Her father and mother worked in the familiy's parish as ministers, recruiting Kelley to help out teaching Sunday School to the younger church members. It was at this time, she became interested in pursuing teaching as a career.

After the completion of her 7-12 Education Certificate at Hiram College, Kelley found her first teaching position at Thurmont Middle School teaching 7th Grade Language Arts, where she still teaches today. With nearly a decade of service to Frederick County Public Schools, Kelley has made an impact in TMS's Language Arts Department and at the district level.

Notably, she has been recognized by the Maryland State Department of Education for "Unlocking the Heart for Cancer," a service learning lesson plan which received they Shelley Under Award. Her "Worry Dolls" multicultural unit was also featured on the MSDE website as a "Rising Star" in Maryland education.

Kelley's latest teaching accomplishment was coordinating a tree dedication ceremony at TMS for holocaust survivor Erika Eckstut, a guest speaker from the previous school year.
The former college football player’s most apparent leadership strength is that of a developer. During the first assembly held to meet and greet the students at Glenallan, Moran discussed the importance of setting goals and the students’ ability to reach their goals no matter the size of those goals. He told the students that he will be their biggest cheerleader. As they laughed he added, “Minus the skirt and pompoms.”
Moran brings a positive, enthusiastic perspective to teaching and learning, which is very contagious. He works with the assistant principal, staff developer, and many teacher leaders to implement the county’s new Elementary Integrated Curriculum 2.0 in kindergarten, first, and second grade classes.

What qualifications must a teacher leader possess?
• classroom teaching experience
• previous leadership experiences that have allowed opportunities for reflection
• experience facilitating curriculum collaboration; such as team leader position

What dispositional characteristics and traits must a teacher leader possess?
• ability to build relationships and professional learning communities
• ability to see the big picture
• passionate that student achievement needs to determine all decisions

What role does a teacher leader play in the dynamics of the school and community?
• driving force of the school’s vision
• facilitator of academic goals
• bridge between the school and community

What does the future hold for teacher leaders?
• a rise in the number of teacher leaders
• empowerment in school decision making processes
• profound knowledge of curriculum and involvement in curriculum development

How do we foster relationships between stakeholders, organizations, and teacher leaders?
• communicate feedback on school policies and educational changes by using technological tools
• create an understanding that all stakeholders share a common vision for the future; a community of mature adults that possess the educational proficiency and technological expertise needed to enter the workforce
• provide more opportunities for community involvement and support
Teacher Leadership
Canter, L. [CanterYT]. (year, month day). Teacher leadership
videos - Intro to leadership [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdisXPWc5G0
Summary of Interview Findings
What are the qualifications that a teacher leader must possess?
A teacher leader must be positive, hold him or herself and others accountable, communicate well, and set ambitious and achievable goals. I am sure there are many more.

What dispositional characteristics and traits must a teacher leader possess?
I think they must have an ability to readjust quickly and forget the what happened one day and start fresh the next day, teaching is a roller coaster and you need to ready for the ups and downs. A teacher needs to have a strong desire to see all students succeed and not allow students to make excuses.

What is the role that a teacher leader plays in the dynamics of a school and community?
A teacher leader encourages others to do the right thing and sets a good model and tone for the others in the schools. A teacher leader is positive inside and outside the classroom. Teacher leader is willing to help in a capacity: lunch duty, after school duty, committees.

What is the future of teacher leadership?
Giving teachers more chances to be leaders, teacher as coaches of other teachers, managers, and various other duties that let teachers help other teachers. I feel right now most the leadership in schools, districts, state and federal levels comes from people who have not been a classroom teacher for many years and their decisions reflect a lack of understanding. I want to see that change, let actual teachers lead and make decisions. As I was writing this I thought about a rotating system, perhaps 2 years in/ 2 years out of the classroom.

What are the relationships between stakeholders, organizations, and teacher leaders
Disjointed. Many people have many ideas about how things should work, but few times do those people talk to one other or to who those opinions effect, instead many opinions are handed down without fully evaluating the situation.
Teacher Leadership
Millie came to the United States from Columbia with her husband 15 years ago. She always knew that she wanted to be a teacher and attended Arizona State University to get her degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Secondary Languages. After completing her degree, she went on to earn a reading endorsement, ELL endorsement, and a Master’s degree in Administration. She currently works as a reading coach and teacher leader/coach in an under performing Title 1 school in Phoenix.

Ms. Garcia eludes love for everyone that she meets. If you are in her presence, you can feel her love. She is always eager to help whoever may need her assistance and rarely shows an emotion other than joy and excitement. Children are drawn to her and her students' test scores were among the best in our district, despite the harsh conditions that some students in her classroom must endure. Millie continues to further her own education and develops new ways to present information to children.
Millie Garcia
Kelley Fujii

What qualifications must a teacher leader possess?
• very involved with the school and students
• vast knowledge of curriculum and resources
• mastery of classroom management

What dispositional characteristics and traits must a teacher leader possess?
• helpful, friendly, and cheerful
• personable demeanor but a "warm demander" with students
• encouraging and innovative

What role does a teacher leader play in the dynamics of the school and community?
• easy-going but sure to stay on task in the classroom and with school priorities
• good reputation in the community; is known as a good teacher
• participates and contributes in school activities

What does the future hold for teacher leaders?
• understanding common core and assessments
• takes risks in the classroom with varied lesson plans and structure of assignments
• continues to use data-driven instruction

How do we foster relationships between stakeholders, organizations, and teacher leaders?
• is a known leader with all stakeholders
• has a good knowledge of the school district and is seen by others outside of the school ass a teacher leader
• has a consistent way of presenting themselves so that all tree of these areas are left with the impression of a teacher leader
Teacher Leadership
Who is Kelley Fujii?
Thurmont Middle School teacher Kelley Fujii and holocaust survivor Erika Eckstut look on as 7th grade students prepare to plan a tree near the school entrance.
Cameron Bowen has been teaching Bible and History at Northeastern Academy on and off for the last 15 years. His strength of Input is the reason he is a historian. He is an avid reader, researcher, historian, and loves a good discussion. He loves to look at events and link them to history for this reason I identified another strength as Analytical. His knowledge of history and research help to make his classroom discussions enlightening for students who are challenged with critical thinking activities and challenging discussions in which students take positions for or against certain topics and debate their subject matter. For this reason he is also identified as having the strength of Intellection.

When he is not in the classroom, he is preaching in various churches or making presentations on end time events. Although is has no aspiration to be a principal or teacher leader, he is certainly respected by all faculty and interacts with them on various levels. He encourages teachers who are struggling with time and classroom management, speaks to the biology class to share links between science and bible, provides counseling for new teachers and others, and can usually help in revealing various scenarios to situations which help to visualize the full picture to make an informed decision. Although he could be doing many other things with his time, he is devoted to helping our students connect with history and see its relevance for the future.
What are the qualifications that a teacher leader must possess?
•Management skills•Researcher
•Be able to evaluate personalities,
•Ability to evaluate teaching success - based on knowledge, background, and getting the material across (not just checking boxes on a check sheet).
What are the dispositional characteristics and traits a teacher leader must possess?
•The person must have patience to deal with people (The person cannot get agitated with easily.)
•Must be able to take criticism
•Ability to nurture and be able discipline with mercy
•Personally disciplined
•Strong work ethics
What is the role that a teacher leader plays in the dynamics of a school and community?
•To rally the instructional forces and organize them efficiently so that the most effective results would be achieved.
•Should be a recruiter of teachers (encouraging people to want to teach)
•Be an example of good parenting.
What is the future of teacher leadership?
Teacher leaders must become functional in more than just their specialty area. They must be able to evaluate skills and properly place individuals. They must now know to teach, should they have to go into the classroom. They must be able to function without a script. If individuals with these capabilities are recruited as teacher leaders the future will be bright. If close attention is not paid to this them we will have a real problem.
What are the relationships between stakeholders, organizations, and teacher leaders?
Organizations need teacher leaders because they develop and maintain and guide the wellbeing of the organization, so that stakeholders,(parents, bus drivers, janitorial staff, unions, etc) and the organization will benefit. If the teacher leader fails in their role, stakeholders lose jobs, organization receives negative publicity and sometimes face closure.
Supporting Teacher Leadership
Who is Cameron Bowen?
Who is Millie Garcia?
All interviewed stakeholders shared
common beliefs regarding teacher leaders

*leadership capabilities
*previous or current teaching experience
*positive and effective communication methods
*broad knowledge base of curriculum, standards, and resources available
*able to evaluate own and others teaching and set appropriate goals
*participation in the school, community, and with parents
*innovations and willing to take risks
*encouraging and willing to assist
* Each interviewed teacher leader holds a different position within the school, causing variation among the responses to the interview questions pertaining to the roles, qualifications, and characteristics of teacher leaders.
* Only two of the interviewees listed the ability to build relationships with school stakeholders as an important trait for teacher leaders to possess.
* Differences were also noted in the responses to interview questions pertaining to the responsibilities and/or qualifications of teacher leaders. Some interviewees value qualities such as strong knowledge of curriculum, good communication techniques and knowledge of school policies. Others clearly saw the teacher leader's role as something they would do in addition to previously listed traits.
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