DAILY INSIGHT: Leading from the classroom

By Scot A. Graden, CIO Advisor

Leadership is important. When filling principal positions we often talked about the need to select the right leader for our buildings. As the November election approaches, we will again be choosing persons to be our leaders. We talk about developing leadership skills in our students. However, we seldom talk about how important teacher leaders are to the success of a school district. The ability of teachers to be leaders is essential to students, to schools, to communities and to the teaching profession.

Teachers often have formal and informal leadership roles within a building or district. They become leaders by being respected by their peers, by being approachable and using their influence to improve learning environment for students. When I think about the teacher leaders in my district, they are student focused. They understand that a collaborative culture where they share their knowledge can have a significant impact on student achievement. On the administration front, we need to give teachers opportunities to participate in decision making at both the school and district level. Using the expertise that already exists in our teachers will only serve to improve our results. Looking at the teachers using technology—the ones that share their knowledge freely—is a great way to identify leaders and to celebrate them. We need to reinforce the behavior we want to encourage.

Celebrating the "tech gurus" at the classroom level is a nice first step.

Scot Graden is superintendent of Saline Area Schools in southeast Michigan. You can follow him on Twitter: @SuperScot