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Districts, Teacher Leaders, and Distributed Leadership: Changing Institutional Practice


"The growing interest in distributed leadership reflects an effort to reconceptualize
leadership in schools by exploring how leadership is spread across a variety of roles and
to explore the process of leadership. Using case studies of four schools in three districts,
this paper explores how leadership is distributed in school districts and asks about the
role of teacher leaders in particular. It proposes that teacher leaders and districts can
share three leadership tasks: procuring and distributing materials, monitoring
improvement, and developing people. The district and teacher leaders play
complementary roles. Districts tend to be distant forces, and teacher leaders are more
personal. How effective teacher leaders do at people development will depend on the
time they have, the knowledge they have, and their monitoring responsibility. These
conditions depend partly on their administrative support. We suggest that districts may
have more opportunity to influence teaching practice than past research had indicated."