Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Stratton, Susan

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Teachers--Attitudes; School principals--Attitudes; Leadership


Mounting research indicates the importance of developing an image of teacher leadership in school improvement. However, the actual implementation of the organizational structures and professional development opportunities designed to cultivate such leaders lag far behind these research findings. As a discipline, leadership is identified as one of the most researched, but least understood, concepts in education. This study brought clarity to the discipline of leadership through defining specific practices and traits demonstrated by classroom teachers functioning in a leadership capacity. Understanding the traits and practices associated with leadership provides direction to school leaders seeking to develop teacher leadership. The purpose of this study was to explore the emergence of demonstrated leadership practices of teachers who successfully completed the Middle Childhood Generalist Certification sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. A qualitative study involving four teachers and their building principals was completed using both a brief survey and personal interviews. This research study documented the emergence of 14 leadership characteristics in teachers who completed the National Board Middle Childhood Generalist Certification. The characteristics described by the teachers were supported in the comments shared by building principals. All four teachers evidenced the leadership characteristics of vision, credibility, reflection, system perspective, culture, purpose, motivation, collegiality, caring, positive attitude, and listening. Three of the four teachers evidenced the characteristic of values. All four principals reinforced the leadership traits of vision, credibility, reflection, risk-taking, motivation, collegiality, celebration, positive attitude, and listening. Recognizing these characteristics provides teachers and school leaders with identifiable traits that can be used to identify and develop teacher leaders. For school districts looking for opportunities to identify teachers with leadership characteristics, National Board Certification would serve as a method for identifying potential teacher leaders. National Board Certification could also serve as a professional development experience used to develop teacher leaders who remain in the classroom. Teacher leadership empowers teachers to recognize opportunities to improve their practice and enlists support in motivating the entire organization to change. Future reform efforts would benefit from recognizing and understanding the potential of this resource.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [197]-203).


vii, 214 pages




Northern Illinois University

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