Alexandria, VA (11/13/2014)—ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, is pleased to announce the fall 2014 Whole Child Symposium, which will focus on the theme of “Teacher Leadership.” In this panel event, education leaders, experts, and practitioners will define the teacher leader role, analyze its importance to the profession, and describe how administrators and the education system can prepare future teacher leaders for success.

The symposium will take place on December 3, 2014, from 1:30–4:30 p.m. eastern time, in the Knight Studio at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and will be streamed live for free at

“The role of teachers as leaders truly enhances the processes of both teaching and learning for everyone in a school,” said Judy Seltz, ASCD executive director. “In districts across the country, teachers are seeking guidance about the definition and parameters of the teacher leader role. ASCD has designed the fall 2014 Whole Child Symposium to both provide concrete action steps education systems and administrators can take to empower current teacher leaders, and identify and develop leaders of the future.”

The value of teacher leadership is widely agreed upon, but the several names currently attached to the role—specialist, instructional coach, mentor, and team leader—indicate that there is not yet agreement on a formal teacher leader role and that the term has different meanings to different people. Additionally, many educators who view themselves as teacher leaders are still awaiting schoolwide support for their preparation and professional development.

“During the upcoming Whole Child Symposium, our panelists will tackle the what, why, and how of teachers as leaders,” said Sean Slade, ASCD director of whole child programs. “We want to hear from both national education leaders and those still in the classroom about how to develop a clear plan for aspiring teacher leaders to ascend to the role and how our school systems can properly support this development.”

The symposium will include two panels. The first will present organizational and systems-level approaches to teacher leadership, including the Department of Education’s Teach to Lead initiative. Participants in this panel are

Becky Pringle—vice president, National Education Association.
Maddie Fennell—classroom fellow, U.S. Department of Education.
Tanya Tucker—vice president of alliance engagement, America’s Promise Alliance.

The second panel will present on-the-ground and in-the-school perspectives of teacher leadership. Participants in this panel are

Robyn Jackson—author of the ASCD book Never Underestimate Your Teachers: Instructional Leadership for Excellence in Every Classroom.
Peter DeWitt—former elementary principal, education consultant, and ASCD author.
Jennifer Orr—ASCD emerging leader and kindergarten teacher.

In May 2014, the inaugural symposium focused on the theme “Choosing Your Tomorrow Today” and brought together education thought leaders to explore what should be taught in schools for children, societies, and economies to be successful tomorrow. The upcoming event in December will bring new voices into the conversation and seek answers to teacher leadership questions that will influence the effectiveness of present and future education systems. Educators can watch the event at and follow @ASCD on Twitter, using the hashtag #WCS14 to hear more about the topic and share their input.

For more information about ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, visit To learn about ASCD books from authors Robyn Jackson, Peter DeWitt, and many others, visit You can also find out more about ASCD’s other programs, products, services, and memberships at

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Abi Mandelbaum

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