Collaborating with Administration

Teacher leader develops collaborative relationships with administrators.
Made by Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Learning at USD
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Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Teacher leader works collaboratively with a school administrator to foster a positive school culture that supports students.

Method Components

“It is important for principals and various faculty groups, i.e. teachers, to work together for mutual support. In addition, the manner in which faculty members worked together as a group significantly influenced student outcomes in schools (Wheelan & Kesselring, 2005). Research exists which concludes that some aspects of school social environment clearly make a difference in the academic achievement of schools (Brookover et. al., 1978).” (Edgerson, 3)

Suggested strategies for working collaboratively with school administrators

  • Recognize administrators for the positive work they have done on campus.
  • Clearly define school’s vision, mission, and goals together.
  • Ground conversations in the school’s vision.
  • Co-plan what professional learning for teachers at the site might look like.
  • Strive to understand what your principal’s needs are and use your strengths to fulfill those needs.
  • Volunteer to take up a leadership role in carrying out one of the school’s goals or initiatives.
  • Decide together how you might involve other stakeholders in fostering a positive school culture that supports students.
  • Identify and communicate how the administrator can support you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Be dependable. Follow through with commitments.
  • Make yourself available as a resource for other educators.
  • Understand what your school’s achievement needs are.
  • Establish a trusting relationship with your colleagues, including the administrator(s). Do so by establishing faculty working groups grounded in instructional leadership.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Edgerson, D. E., Kritsonis, W. A., & Herrington, D. (2006). The Critical Role of the Teacher-Principal Relationship in the Improvement of Student Achievement in Public Schools of the United States. Online Submission, 3.

The purpose of this article is to examine the effects and affect of schools maintaining positive and healthy relationships between principals and teachers, and to delineate those factors that facilitate and contribute to student academic success. Consequently, the purpose of the study was threefold: 1) Examining school climate and culture phenomena germane to the development of substantive principal-teacher relationships; 2) Identifying those principal-teacher relational components that foster and affect teacher performance; and 3) Analyzing the overarching effects of the building and maintenance of substantive principal-teacher relationships on student academic achievement.

  • Smylie, M. A. (1992). Teacher Participation in School Decision Making: Assessing Willingness to Participate. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 14(1), 53-67.

This article explores the organizational and psychological antecedents to teachers’ willingness to participate in personnel, curriculum and instruction, staff development, and general administrative decisions. Findings reveal that teachers vary in their willingness to participate in different decisions and that teacher-principal working relationships exert the greatest significant influence on willingness to participate across decision areas. Findings also suggest that willingness to participate may turn on reconciling competing professional beliefs and working relationships.

  • Barnett, K., & McCormick, J. (2004). Leadership and Individual Principal-Teacher Relationships in Schools. Educational Administration Quarterly, 40(3), 406-434.

Transformational approaches to leadership have increasingly been advocated for schools. Research evidence suggests that the effect of leadership on student learning outcomes is mediated by school conditions such as goals, structure, people, and school culture. The results of this study suggested relationships between leadership and school learning culture do exist, and they highlight the importance of individual principal-teacher relationships in schools.

  • Wahlstrom, K. L., & Louis, K. S. (2008). How Teachers Experience Principal Leadership: The Roles of Professional Community, Trust, Efficacy, and Shared Responsibility. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(4), 458-495.

Increasing our knowledge about what leaders do and how they have an impact on the instructional behaviors of teachers will lead us to a better understanding of how leadership has a direct relationship to improved student achievement. These findings create a clearer picture of teacher-principal and teacher-teacher interactions that support learning and bring us closer to the elusive goal of clarifying the link between leadership and learning.

  • Pankake, A., & Moller, G. (2007). What the Teacher Leader Needs from the Principal. Journal of Staff Development, 28(1), 32.

This paper discusses the eight strategies principals can employ to encourage and support school-based coaches: (1) Collaboratively build and monitor an action plan; (2) Negotiate the relationship; (3) Be available; (4) Provide access to human and fiscal resources; (5) Maintain the focus on instructional leadership; (6) Help maintain balance to avoid overload; (7) Protect the coach’s relationships with peers; and (8) Provide leadership development opportunities. These eight strategies help create a context in which a school-based coach can thrive and help build leadership capacity among all professional staff.

  • Smylie, M. A., & Brownlee-Conyers, J. (1992). Teacher leaders and their Principals: Exploring the Development of New Working Relationships. Educational Administration Quarterly, 28(2), 150-184.

This article presents the findings of an exploratory study of the development of new working relationships between teacher leaders and their principals. This study documents the interests and prerogatives that teacher leaders and principals bring to these new relationships and the strategies that they use to shape these relationships in ways consistent with those interests and prerogatives. The findings raise important issues concerning the principal’s role in teacher leadership development as well as the broader social and normative contexts of schools in which principal-teacher leader work relationships develop and function.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview question

(300-word limit)

  • Please describe your collaboration with your school administrator. Additionally, please describe the relationship and how you were effectively able to work collaboratively.

Part 2. Work examples/artifacts

Please submit several artifacts that were created while collaborating with administrators (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, or other products) including such items as:

  • Meeting agenda with next steps
  • Evidence of a project created by a teacher leader that emerged from the meeting
  • Debrief notes from meeting with administrator to discuss project evidence (see above) and planning for next steps
  • Video clip of the meeting
  • Annotated photos of the meeting

Part 3. Reflection

(300-word limit)

Provide a reflection on what you learned using the following questions as guidance:

  • How has building a relationship with your administrator(s) impacted students? Please provide examples.
  • How will you change the way you plan meetings and interact with administrators in the future?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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