7 Qualities of a Teacher Leader

Karen DeLawter is West Regional Chapter Coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

Power of Teacher LeadershipWhat makes a teacher leader? All teachers do valuable work, but what distinguishes a teacher from a teacher leader? KDP Leadership Month is the perfect time to share common characteristics from The Power of Teacher Leaders: Their Roles, Influence, and Impact.

  • Work ethic. This characteristic is defined as perseverant, resourceful, action oriented, committed, and passionate (York-Barr & Duke, 2004).
  • Teamwork. A teacher must work with many different stakeholders and build positive relationships. To build such relationships, he or she must be able to engender trust, work well with colleagues, communicate effectively, and resolve conflicts (Danielson, 2006; Killion & Harrison, 2006).
  • Leadership. Teacher leaders lead by engaging, inspiring, and motivating others to improve and become better through their actions (Bascia, 1996). The trait is strongly interconnected with teamwork.
  • Openness. Teacher leaders are adaptable, open-minded, and creative. They are open to exploring options to gather the necessary resources to improve the state of education (York-Barr & Duke, 2004). Their relationships are filled with honesty and integrity.
  • Vision. Teacher leaders have a vision to identify opportunities for improvement or fix problems within the school. They actively seek out opportunities rather than simply waiting for them to appear (Danielson, 2006). They have a calling to positively influence beyond the walls of their classrooms.
  • Positive effect. Teacher leaders are positive. They are leaders who often succeed with the help of their positive effects of optimism, enthusiasm, confidence, and willingness to collaborate (Danielson, 2006).
  • Risk taking. This characteristic allows teacher leaders to do whatever is necessary in order for children to learn. They do not mind if they fail or are criticized (Danielson, 2006).

© 2015 Kappa Delta Pi
The Power of Teacher Leaders: Their Roles, Influence, and Impact
Edited by Nathan Bond
Appendix 19.A

February is Leadership Month

Leadership development is a top priority for many organizations, and that’s why it is a pleasure to highlight February as the first KDP Leadership Month. There are many events planned for Leadership Month to build our members’ potential to be teacher leaders, including regional iLead events, Teach to Lead programs and summits, and travel scholarships with People to People.

In honor of Leadership Month members of the Chapter Services team wanted to share their favorite quotes on leadership to encourage you in your teaching journey.

Katie Heath“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” –Ronald Reagan

Katie Heath, Northeast Regional Chapter Coordinator

Rachel Gurley“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.”–Walter Lippmann

Rachel Gurley, Chapter Operations Coordinator

Thom Ulmet“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Thomas Ulmet, Midwest Regional Chapter Coordinator

Laura Perkins“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” –John Quincy Adams

Laura Perkins, Southeast Regional Chapter Coordinator

Chris Beaman“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” –John C. Maxwell

As a teacher, are you in your role because it’s just a great position to have, or is it because influencing the lives of children in your community is your passion?  While it can be both, we know that you are dedicated to teaching because of your passion for others, and that is what makes YOU a great leader of today.  It’s time for the great leaders of the world—our teachers and KDP members—to stand together and continue to positively influence the lives of our children for the sake of humanity.  We cannot thank you enough for the passion you bring to the field and the daily impact that you have.

Chris Beaman, Assistant Director of Chapter Services and Membership

At KDP we believe every member is a leader. Use February as an opportunity to re-focus your chapter’s executive officers or build on your personal skills. How could you better develop your skills during KDP Leadership Month?