Expanding the role of teacher leaders: Professional learning for policy advocacy





teacher leadership, state policy, advocacy


Teacher leadership is important both within and beyond the school. Teacher leaders have the potential to expand their role beyond policy implementation in the classroom to influence educational policy development. However, few teachers receive explicit preparation or guidance for contributing their voice and providing first-hand knowledge of policy’s classroom impact. This study investigated the perceptions and experiences of educators who had completed a year-long fellowship designed to inform and guide teacher participation in state policy. The results indicate that participants perceive themselves as strong policy advocates with local stakeholders but believe they face barriers to influencing state policy leaders. The findings suggest that (1) barriers to policy advocacy must be examined and removed so that teachers can expand their expertise beyond the classroom and that (2) professional learning opportunities can develop teacher leadership skills for influencing policy formulation and adoption resulting in benefits for students.


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Author Biographies

Mary Lynne Derrington, University of Tennessee

Mary Lynne Derrington is an Associate Professor in the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Tennessee. Her research interests include teacher evaluation, policy implementation, and global school reform issues. Following her research expertise, she has published numerous refereed articles, book chapters, and books on the topics of school and district leadership and teacher evaluation. She has presented refereed papers internationally and been an invited speaker on leadership and teacher evaluation.


Lezli S. Anderson, University of Tennessee

Lezli Anderson received a M.S. in Applied Educational Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2018 and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of Tennessee. Her research interests include emotional intelligence of educators and students and factors that influence teacher retention and effectiveness. She is also a graduate research assistant with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Center for Educational Leadership.




How to Cite

Derrington, M. L., & Anderson, L. S. (2020). Expanding the role of teacher leaders: Professional learning for policy advocacy. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 68. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.28.4850