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Building STEM Teacher Leadership

Reflections by the STEM teacher leader community on opportunities and gaps in STEM teacher leader development efforts


About this Resource

This resource was authored by expert practitioners in the field of STEM teacher leadership for use by other practitioners.

Collaborating in Research Action Clusters, the expert practitioners drew on their own professional expertise, as well as in-depth conversations with STEM teacher leader program staff. This resource provides a launching-off point for teachers, teacher leaders, administrators, policymakers, funders, and STEM professionals to examine issues and roles in building STEM teacher leadership; the information is not intended as research findings.

The STEM teacher leader field continues to evolve and over time, other topics will undoubtedly emerge as priorities. One such topic may be the role of STEM teacher leaders in supporting Pre-Kindergarten education, which may be added to this resource in the future.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education.

What are the Research Action Clusters (RACs)?

During July 2015, SRI International and Policy Studies Associates (PSA), with support from the U.S. Department of Education, hosted a convening of the STEM teacher leader community to reflect on current STEM teacher leader development efforts and to identify the focus areas for Research Action Clusters. Over 60 state and district policymakers, school leaders, practitioners, and nonprofit organization leaders from across the county attended the convening, in addition to representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and the project’s advisors, selected for their expertise in STEM education, teacher leadership development, and education policy. These participants represented a wide range of perspectives on STEM teacher leadership—on leading programs that develop or support teacher leaders, participating in teacher leader programs, and serving in teacher leadership roles.

In discussions drawing together these perspectives, participants identified the following six topics:

  • Models of STEM Teacher Leadership
  • Elementary STEM Teacher Leaders
  • Administrator Support for STEM Teacher Leadership
  • From Teacher Candidate to STEM Teacher Leader
  • Building STEM Teacher Leader Networks
  • Evaluation of Teacher Leadership Programs

Participants in the July 2015 convening who were interested in pursuing the initiative further were invited to join the Research Action Clusters. The Research Action Clusters met and collaborated virtually during the 2015-16 school year, with facilitation from SRI and PSA.

Who are the Research Action Cluster members?

Practitioners and experts in STEM and teacher leadership collaborated in Research Action Clusters and were supported by researchers at SRI and PSA. The practitioners represented a range of stakeholders across STEM and other content domains, including representatives from programs that develop or support teacher leaders, participants in teacher leader programs, and teacher leaders.

Research Action Cluster Members

Josh Barnett, National Institute for Excellence in Teaching

Brooke Barron, Tallassee City Schools (AL)

Rolf Blank, National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC)

Kareen Borders, Olympic Educational Service District 114

Brooke Bourdelat-Parks, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study

Sheron Brown, formerly of Teach Plus

Andy Byerley, Forest Grove School District (OR)

Mark Calhoun, Aurora Public Schools/Mathematics Teacher Leadership Center

Melissa Collins, Shelby County Schools (TN)

Melinda Curless, Kentucky Department of Education

Mauro Díaz, Dean Morgan Middle School (WY)

Dennis Dotterer, South Carolina Department of Education

Kevin Drinkard, New Teacher Center

Tami Fitzgerald, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Elaine Franklin, Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership

Joseph Greco, Saratoga Springs City School District/NY Master Teachers Program Partner

Linda Hargan, Collaborative for Teaching and Learning

Margaret Harrison, District of Columbia Public Schools

Gretchen Hazelwood, Aurora Public Schools/Mathematics Teacher Leadership Center

Doreen Heath Lance, California Math Project: North Coast

Heather Hotchkiss, Fairfax County Public Schools (VA)

Stephanie Johnson, Battelle Education

Katherine Kanim, Math and Science Partnership Program (NM)

Barbara Kozak, West Forest Intermediate Opelika City Schools (AL)

Elisa López, Math for America

Sharon Lynch, George Washington University

Joseph Manko, Baltimore City Public Schools (MD)

W. Gary Martin, TEAM-Math, Auburn University

Camsie McAdams, The New Teacher Project

Jeff Milbourne, Office of U.S. Congressman Michael M. Honda

Jodie Novak, The Mathematics Teacher Leadership Center – Teacher Leadership Program

Jane Porath, Traverse City East Middle School (MI)

Reo Pruiett, Educate Texas T-STEM Network

Jeff Rozelle, Knowles Science Teaching Foundation

John Settlage, University of Connecticut

Lori Shaw, Auburn University Teacher Leader Fellow/Opelika City Schools (AL)

Nancy Spillane, West Virginia University

Lauren Thompson Allen, District of Columbia Public Schools

James Troupis, Noble Network of Charter Schools

Kristan Van Hook, National Institute for Excellence in Teaching

Deborah Walker, Collaborative for Teaching and Learning

Andrew Ward, Arizona Master Teacher Program

David Wilson, SUNY Buffalo State/NY State Master Teacher Program

Joey Wilson, Teach for America

Sarah Young, Utah State Office of Education