Leadership Opportunities: Virginia

2019 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should support teachers to take on leadership opportunities that allow them to continue teaching.

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2019). Leadership Opportunities: Virginia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/VA-Leadership-Opportunities-97

Analysis of Virginia's policies

State support for teacher leadership: Virginia offers an optional Teacher as Leader designation. 

Selection criteria: Virginia requires that teachers achieve the career teacher designation; complete at least five years of successful, full-time teaching experience; and receive a recommendation from a school division superintendent verifying "demonstrated skills and abilities as a school leader and direct contributions to school effectiveness and student achievement." However, there is no explicit link to teacher effectiveness as measured by the state's evaluation policy, which includes objective measures of student growth. 

Incentives and supports: Virginia provides opportunities for teacher leaders to participate in content institutes where they are provided training, that they are then able to provide at their schools. Teacher leaders are provided opportunities to develop and deliver training in their content areas. It is unclear whether these opportunities are provided only to teachers with teacher as leader designation or whether this opportunity is open to any teacher meeting a variety of criteria depending on the training program requirements.

Citation

Recommendations for Virginia

Base criteria for leadership roles on effectiveness and content knowledge.
Virginia should ensure that teachers selected for leadership roles have a record of effectiveness in the classroom and bring substantial teaching experience and subject-matter knowledge.

Offer incentives or supports to teachers who assume leadership roles.
Virginia should offer—or encourage districts to offer—either financial incentives or nonmonetary supports to assist teacher leaders. To allow effective teacher leaders to remain in the classroom, Virginia should ensure that principals provide time and space for the tasks of both teacher of record and teacher leadership roles, which may be accomplished, for example, through a reduction of class loads.

State response to our analysis

Virginia was helpful in providing NCTQ with information necessary for this analysis.

Virginia indicated that it does have opportunities to support teachers to assume leadership roles. The state cited its Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy. This is open to educators who are not currently special education directors and "and is designed to help prepare potential leaders for future administrative positions in special education." Participants are selected via a nomination and application process. The academy is a year long that includes "workshops, seminars, observations, assignments and field experiences." The state pays for expenses related to lodgings and meals, and the districts pay for substitutes.

Virginia also offers Teacher Leaders In Action program the purpose of which is to "build teacher leaders in lesson planning and lesson delivery." Training participants are paid $50/ hour "according to division policy/practice."  The state noted that it also has the Virginia Middle School Teacher Corps (MSTC) which seeks to recruit and retain middle school teachers "for middle schools where mathematics is an area identified for improvement."

The state also noted its participation in the University Preparation Program Initiative Wallace Grant. The Virginia State University (VSU) and the Department of Education, in conjunction with a number of school districts are developing automated leader tracking systems that gather information on aspiring leaders to match the skills of educators with the needs of schools. According to the state, the system when complete, will have certain data filters — such as years of experience, leadership positions held, education, demographics, assessment data, trainings and professional learning opportunities they have led, and positions held — are captured in an electronic system to align potential leaders with specific administrative vacancies.The school divisions will implement these tracking systems to help identify and retain leaders in their schools.

Updated: June 2019

How we graded

9C: Leadership Opportunities

  • Policy or Initiative: The state should support, through a specific and articulated policy or initiative, opportunities for teachers to assume leadership roles and/or advanced career positions that allow them to continue teaching.
  • Strategic Selection: The state should require that teachers are strategically selected for leadership roles based on specific criteria, including content knowledge and classroom effectiveness.
  • Incentives or Supports: The state should offer, or encourage districts to offer meaningful incentives such as: compensation (e.g., financial incentives) or nonmonetary supports (e.g., reduced class loads) for teachers who assume leadership roles.
Policy or Initiative
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if there is a specific and articulated policy or initiative for teachers to assume leadership roles or advanced career positions that allow them to continue teaching in the classroom for at least some of their work time.
Strategic Selection
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it requires teachers to be strategically selected for leadership roles based on specific criteria, including content knowledge and effectiveness.
Incentives or Supports
Up to one-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it offers or encourages monetary incentives (e.g., bonuses, extra steps on the salary schedule) for teachers who assume leadership roles.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it offers or encourages non-monetary supports that help provide teacher leaders with the necessary time to engage in teacher leadership activities (e.g., additional prep time or reduced class loads) or non-monetary incentives that help increase teacher leaders efficacy and impact (e.g., attending conferences or being invited to serve on teacher panels/advisory boards/etc.).

Research rationale

Research from the past four decades widely supports leadership roles for teachers.[1] Teachers aspire to engage in leadership and professional growth opportunities,[2] and desire more participation in decisions about instruction.[3] Research suggests teacher leaders should be involved in policy and decision-making at some level.[4]

Research has not found a relationship between teacher leadership and student achievement;[5] however, the presence of teacher leadership opportunities in schools has benefits for individual teacher leaders, as well as the school-wide teacher community. Teacher leaders feel more confident, empowered, and professionally satisfied;[6] they also feel that leadership roles allowed them to grow professionally.[7] Teachers in schools with teacher leadership opportunities report that such opportunities contribute to greater teacher empowerment, professional community, and collective responsibility.[8] For their school community, teachers in leadership roles have the capacity to increase teacher collaboration, spread best practices, encourage teacher professional learning, and focus on content-specific issues.[9] Teacher leaders support professional learning communities by conducting formal professional development or assisting other teachers in classrooms.[10] By concurrently serving as teachers, teacher leaders are likely to be more effective in both roles.[11]

Teacher leaders selected for these roles should bring substantial teaching experience and knowledge of the curriculum,[12] as well as effective instruction.[13] Insofar as strong teacher leadership systems should ensure that teacher leaders also remain in the classroom as teachers, principals should provide time and space for the tasks of both teacher of record and teacher leadership roles, such as reducing class loads.


[1] Werner, J. A., & Campbell, T. (2017). The theoretical and empirical basis of teacher leadership: A review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 87(1), 134-171.; York-Barr, J., & Duke, K. (2004). What do we know about teacher leadership? Findings from two decades of scholarship. Review of Educational Research, 74(3), 255-316.
[2] Behrstock, E., & Clifford, M. (2009). Leading Gen Y teachers: Emerging strategies for school leaders (TQ Research & Policy Brief). National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality.; Coggshall, J. G., Behrstock-Sherratt, E., & Drill, K. (2011). Workplaces that support high-performing teaching and learning: Insights from Generation Y teachers. American Institutes for Research.; Conley, S. (1991). Review of research on teacher participation in school decision-making. In G. Grant (Ed.), Review of research in education (Vol. 17, pp. 225-265). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.; Markow, D., & Pieters, A. (2012). The MetLife survey of the American teacher: Teachers, parents and the economy. New York, NY: MetLife.
[3] Conley, S. (1991). Review of research on teacher participation in school decision-making. In G. Grant (Ed.), Review of research in education (Vol. 17, pp. 225-265). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
[4] Can, N. (2009). The leadership behaviours of teachers in primary schools in Turkey. Education, 129(3), 436-448.; Carpenter, B. D., & Sherretz, C. E. (2012). Professional development school partnerships: An instrument for teacher leadership. School-University Partnerships, 5(1), 89-101.; Durias, R. F. (2010). Teacher leaders of color: The impact of professional development on their leadership. University of California, Santa Barbara.; Gonzales, L. D., & Behar-Horenstein, L. S. (2004). Sustaining teacher leadership in enabling to inchoate cultures. Journal of School Leadership, 14(2), 128-152.
[5] Lieberman, A., Saxl, E. R., & Miles, M. B. (1988). Teacher leadership: Ideology and practice. In A. Lieberman (Ed.), Building a professional culture in schools (pp. 148-166). New York: Teachers College Press.; York-Barr, J., & Duke, K. (2004). What do we know about teacher leadership? Findings from two decades of scholarship. Review of Educational Research, 74(3), 255-316.
[6] Beachum, F., & Dentith, A. M. (2004). Teacher leaders creating cultures of school renewal and transformation. In The Educational Forum (Vol. 68, No. 3, pp. 276-286). Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis Group.
[7] Hofstein, A., Carmeli, M., & Shore, R. (2004). The professional development of high school chemistry coordinators. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 15(1), 3-24.; Singh, A., Yager, S. O., Yutakom, N., Yager, R. E., & Ali, M. M. (2012). Constructivist teaching practices used by five teacher leaders for the Iowa Chautauqua Professional Development Program. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 7(2), 197-216.
[8] Beachum, F., & Dentith, A. M. (2004). Teacher leaders creating cultures of school renewal and transformation. In The educational forum (Vol. 68, No. 3, pp. 276-286). Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis Group.; Marks, H. M., & Louis, K. S. (1997). Does teacher empowerment affect the classroom? The implications of teacher empowerment for instructional practice and student academic performance. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 19(3), 245-275.; Paulu, N., & Winters, K. (1998). Teachers leading the way: Voices from the National Teacher Forum. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.; Stone, M., Horejs, J., & Lomas, A. (1997). Commonalities and differences in teacher leadership at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Action in Teacher Education, 19(3), 49-64.
[9] Curtis, R. (2013). Finding a new way: Leveraging teacher leadership to meet unprecedented demands. Washington, DC: Aspen Institute.; Muijs, D., & Harris, A. (2003). Teacher leadership—Improvement through empowerment? An overview of the literature. Educational Management & Administration, 31(4), 437-448.; Muijs, D., & Harris, A. (2006). Teacher led school improvement: Teacher leadership in the UK. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(8), 961-972.
[10] Can, N. (2009). The leadership behaviours of teachers in primary schools in Turkey. Education, 129(3), 436-448.; Durias, R. F. (2010). Teacher leaders of color: The impact of professional development on their leadership. University of California, Santa Barbara.; Gonzales, L. D., & Behar-Horenstein, L. S. (2004). Sustaining teacher leadership in enabling to inchoate cultures. Journal of School Leadership, 14(2), 128-152.; Gordin, L. (2010). Conceptualization and support of the role of teachers serving as team leaders in a professional learning community. Azusa, CA: Azusa Pacific University.; Margolis, J. (2012). Hybrid teacher leaders and the new professional development ecology. Professional Development in Education, 38(2), 291-315.; Margolis J., & Doring A. (2012). The fundamental dilemma of teacher leader-facilitated professional development: Do as I (kind of) say, not as I (sort of) do. Educational Administration Quarterly, 48, 859-882.; Margolis J., & Huggins K. S. (2012). Distributed but undefined: New teacher leader roles to change schools. Journal of School Leadership, 22, 953-981.; Muijs, D., & Harris, A. (2006). Teacher led school improvement: Teacher leadership in the UK. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(8), 961-972.; Vernon-Dotson, L. J. (2008). Promoting inclusive education through teacher leadership teams: A school reform initiative. Journal of School Leadership, 18(3), 344-373.; Vernon-Dotson, L. J., & Floyd, L. O. (2012). Building leadership capacity via school partnerships and teacher teams. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 85(1), 38-49.
[11] Curtis, R. (2013). Finding a new way: Leveraging teacher leadership to meet unprecedented demands. Washington, DC: Aspen Institute.; Gonzales, L. D., & Behar-Horenstein, L. S. (2004). Sustaining teacher leadership in enabling to inchoate cultures. Journal of School Leadership, 14(2), 128-152.; Mangin M. M., & Stoelinga S. R. (2008). Teacher leadership: What it is and why it matters. In Mangin M. M., & Stoelinga S. R. (Eds.), Effective teacher leadership: Using research to inform and reform (pp. 1-9). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.; Margolis, J. (2012). Hybrid teacher leaders and the new professional development ecology. Professional Development in Education, 38(2), 291-315.; Muijs, D., & Harris, A. (2003). Teacher leadership—Improvement through empowerment? An overview of the literature. Educational Management & Administration, 31(4), 437-448.; Muijs, D., & Harris, A. (2006). Teacher led school improvement: Teacher leadership in the UK. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(8), 961-972.; Vernon-Dotson, L. J. (2008). Promoting inclusive education through teacher leadership teams: A school reform initiative. Journal of School Leadership, 18(3), 344-373.
[12] Lieberman, A., Saxl, E. R., & Miles, M. B. (1988). Teacher leadership: Ideology and practice. In A. Lieberman (Ed.), Building a professional culture in schools (pp. 148-166). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
[13] Mangin M. M., & Stoelinga S. R. (2008). Teacher leadership: What it is and why it matters. In Mangin M. M., & Stoelinga S. R. (Eds.), Effective teacher leadership: Using research to inform and reform (pp. 1-9). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.