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NEA expanding teacher leadership initiative

W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant supports initiative to prepare the next generation of the teaching profession’s leaders

WASHINGTON - September 24, 2014 -

The National Education Association (NEA), the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (National Board) are expanding the national Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI). TLI, a joint endeavor to develop a new generation of leaders within the teaching profession, launched in 2013 and was formally announced earlier this year at an event at NEA.

“Positive change in education must be driven by the profession and shaped by the experience of teachers working in classrooms,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia. “This initiative will ultimately develop expertise and engage thousands of teacher-leaders in leadership work in schools—because every student should have the best possible educators in their schools.”

The NEA Foundation was awarded a $750,000 grant over 24 months from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) of Battle Creek, Mich., which will support the NEA’s efforts to expand the scope of the initiative in three ways:

Recruit a more diverse cohort
NEA will expand the number of participant states and develop an “urban” teacher cohort in efforts to recruit, retain, and prepare a more diverse pool of candidates for the TLI. New sites for expansion include Columbus, Ohio and Prince George’s County, Md.

Expand the TLI Curriculum
NEA will build a new module for Diversity, Equity, and Cultural Competence (DECC) to help teachers develop Instructional Leadership skills that improve their effectiveness in teaching students from diverse cultural, racial, economic, and language backgrounds.

Design Leadership Capstone Experiences
This project will also foster leadership in public policy by ensuring that teacher leaders know about and learn to influence the key policy levers that influence educational equity and teaching excellence. As with other TLI strands, the NEA will develop capstone projects that will require teacher leaders to study and engage on a related policy issue related to equity at the district or state level.

The TLI is a product of the organizations’ shared vision of teacher-leadership advancing the profession. The long-term goals of the TLI are: 1) define the foundational competencies of teacher leadership; 2) develop relevant experiences and supports to help teachers cultivate those competencies; and (3) activate teachers to be leaders for their profession as a result of their participation in this process . The TLI has previously received support the Ford Foundation as well.

Participants will engage with an interactive curriculum designed and facilitated by other expert teachers. Their learning will take place on CTQ’s collaboratory platform and in face-to-face meetings led by NEA affiliate leaders. Once teacher leaders have been prepared, TLI will mobilize their leadership to help advance student learning, strengthen the teaching profession, and provide vision and direction to the Association. In addition, the partners will develop systems to support their on-going professional growth.

“The program will prepare and support the next generation of our profession’s leaders to meet the demands of a 21st century teaching professional and ensure the success of their students,” said Eskelsen Garcia.

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About the National Education Association
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. For additional information visit

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Celeste Busser  (202) 262-0589,