Every Teacher Is a Leader



Whole Child Podcast 300x300Teacher leadership is not a new topic in education, but it is one that has continued to grow in importance. When teachers are empowered to lead in their schools, they experience greater job satisfaction and are empowered to make a greater impact—and students benefit by having the best teachers in the classroom.

Much discussion has taken place regarding the proper role and definition of teacher leaders, whether the role should be subject to certification or kept informal, and how best to develop new teacher leaders and give them the tools and opportunities to enact their ideas. ASCD has taken a lead role on the matter by hosting a Whole Child Symposium on teacher leadership in December 2014 and becoming a partner in the Teach to Lead initiative, along with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and U.S. Department of Education.

On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, you’ll hear a range of perspectives on teacher leadership that will address many key concerns, such as how administrators and teachers both benefit from empowered teacher leaders, how they can work together to develop a solid structure, and how such a structure benefits the whole child. You’ll also hear about some of the latest developments in Teach to Lead and learn how various other entities are making strides toward greater teacher leadership opportunities.

Listen to the episode below or download here.


  • Fred Ende is the assistant director of curriculum and instructional services for Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, one of New York’s 37 regional education service agencies. In this role, he assists districts in the metropolitan New York City area with curriculum development, design, and implementation, and he also serves as a regional liaison with the New York State Education Department. Prior to his work at BOCES, Ende taught middle school science and served as a department chair for 10 years in Chappaqua, a suburb of New York City. He is an ASCD Emerging Leader, currently serves as New York ASCD’s vice president, and is the author of the upcoming ASCD Arias publication Professional Development That Sticks: How do I create meaningful learning experiences for educators? Connect with Ende on Twitter @fredende 
  • Maddie Fennell has been an elementary school teacher in Omaha Public Schools for 26 years, teaching in 1st, 4th, and 6th grades and mentoring her peers as a literacy coach. She is also a National Board–certified teacher (middle childhood generalist). This year, she is on special assignment to the U.S. Department of Education as a teacher leader in residence in the Office of the Secretary. Fennell has served in numerous education advocacy roles, including two years as a teaching ambassador fellow at the U.S. Department of Education, chairing the NEA Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching, and presenting at the 2012 International Summit on the Teaching Profession and at Education Nation in 2011. She is currently serving on the board of directors of the Nebraska State Education Association, as secretary of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, and as a teacher representative for the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution Re-Imagining Education Project. Connect with Fennell on Twitter @maddief.
  • Bryan Goodwin is the president and CEO of McREL International, a Denver-based nonprofit education research and development organization. Goodwin, a former teacher and journalist, has been at McREL for 15 years, serving previously as chief operating officer and director of communications and marketing. He has authored or coauthored several books, including Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning: Tools for Achieving Success in Your School, The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day, and Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success. He writes a monthly research column for Educational Leadership magazine and presents research findings and insight to audiences across the United States and in Canada and Australia. Connect with Goodwin on Twitter @bryanrgoodwin.

 Take Your Leadership Development Further

Your goal in education is to learn, teach, and lead. Here’s your tailor-made solution. The 71st ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Atlanta, Georgia, April 2–4, encourages you to move from vision to action with hundreds of sessions to choose from across more than 30 different topic areas uniquely designed to serve educators at all levels. And you can extend your learning from today’s episode in person with Bryan Goodwin and Fred Ende, who are both presenting at the conference. Join your peers to share knowledge, learn new strategies, and gain tools to help lead education into the future. Learn more and register at www.ascd.org/annualconference.

Another opportunity to advance your teacher leadership is to participate in a 2016 Regional Teacher Leadership Summit hosted by Teach to Lead in coordination with supporter organizations. These summits help spotlight and advance the groundbreaking teacher-led work that is happening in states, districts, and schools across the country. Visit the Teach to Lead website for the idea submission windows for summits in these locations:

  • New Orleans, La.: April 9–10
  • Minneapolis, Minn.: July 23–24
  • Long Beach, Calif.: September 24–25

How would you define a teacher leader?


The Whole Child Podcast: Changing the Conversation About Education seeks to inform and engage educators, parents, and community members about what works in today’s schools. Guests include educational leaders, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and students from around the globe who share their insight into sound education policies and practices that ensure that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.