Barnett Berry, CEO and Partner of the Center for Teaching Quality, delivered a keynote address to more than 300 business professionals, educators, and city leaders at the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Education Forum in Raleigh, NC, on Thursday, May 28.
Berry's remarks focused on Teacher Leadership and the Future of Teaching and Learning, emphasizing the importance of releasing the potential of teachers by creating opportunities for them to lead without leaving the classroom. Serving as a “live proof point" for the power of this potential, CTQ Teacherpreneur Nancy Gardner from Mooresville, NC, participated on a panel with legislative, business, and education leaders, discussing how her hybrid role as a teacherpreneur and teacher leader allows her to lead—and advocate for policy changes that ultimately benefit students in the state of North Carolina.
"The US education system forms a dysfunctional pyramid whereby the few with the least contact with students exert control over the many who work with them on a daily basis. Big, systems-level changes are required in order to unlock the potential of teachers,” Berry said. “We know how to do this—now is the time to muster the political will to re-think the teaching profession in the best interest of students."
"Imagine a district that supports teacherpreneurs–expert teachers whose workweeks are divided between teaching students and designing systems-level solutions for public education. The teacherpreneur model has been successfully piloted in districts across the country, and Wake County and North Carolina are primed to take advantage of this model to transform public education in the state,” Berry added.
Berry's recommendations include four key mechanisms to achieve the goal of releasing the potential of teachers through teacher leadership:
1. Recruit and prepare teachers in cohorts to ready them for leadership from the classroom;
2. Develop and expect principals to utilize teacher leaders;
3. Redesign the school day and curriculum so students have more opportunities to develop and apply interdisciplinary cognitive and communication skills, and teachers have more time to learn from one another and lead; and,
4. Transform current teaching evaluation systems to place a premium on teachers spreading their expertise.
Photo credit: Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce