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What Is a Master’s in Teacher Leadership?

If you are interested in building on your experience and expertise to make a difference in your school or district, a master’s degree in teacher leadership will provide the training and experience required to identify needs and craft educational action plans to engage and inspire students.

What Is the Value of a Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership?

The online master’s degree program offered by the University of Southern Maine (USM) emphasizes both professional development and the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards. These professional standards outline what teachers should know and be able to do to ensure every primary and secondary student is successful and ready for their future. As such, the standards articulate what effective teaching and learning looks like. Teachers who earn this degree are well-versed in these standards and their ongoing evolution, ready to assess and address progress, collaborate with others and improve student success at the course, school or even district level.  

What Is Included in the Degree Program?

The Master of Science in Education in Teacher Leadership with a Concentration in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from USM includes coursework in analyzing and improving teaching and assessment strategies. Courses range from teaching strategy analysis to developing and implementing curriculum in alignment with assessment goals and community needs. Topics cover the study of organizational behavior, too.

While completing the 30 hours of coursework, graduate students elevate their training from implementing curriculum and programming to designing and assessing it, considering larger patterns and trends that impact their communities. In order to do so, they receive specialized training in research methods, communication skills, and management strategies, becoming effective data collectors and interpreters, strategists and collaborators.

What Are Some Long-Range Professional Possibilities?

A master’s degree in teacher leadership prepares educators to see the bigger picture of scholastic organization, mentorship, and teacher development. Teachers who earn this degree are trained not only to identify the needs of schools and districts, but also to understand and apply principles of human development, organizational management, and collaborative implementation. These courses give prospective leaders insight into the types of decisions and skills needed to lead effectively, which helps explain why this degree attracts teachers who want to move into administrative positions.

Such skills shape teachers into leaders ready for roles at the school and district level. Teachers who earn this degree often go on to become department chairs, instructional specialists or coaches, curriculum specialists or coordinators, teacher mentors, or school liaisons.

What Is the Value of This Degree in the Classroom?

Although this degree appeals to teachers interested in administrative positions, it is valuable to those who wish to remain in the classroom as well. It provides the deep understanding of curriculum design and implementation, assessment and strategy that schools find valuable. Thus, many districts offer salary bumps, raises or annual stipends for teachers who earn this degree.

In addition, each year more schools seek out teacher leaders who can work together with other faculty and staff to identify student needs and make changes that contribute to student success inside and outside the classroom. Due to their unique training in implementing best practices and the ability to motivate others to do the same, teacher leaders are often called upon to participate in peer coaching, spearhead parent and community participation, and review research.

Those who complete a master’s degree program in teacher leadership receive training to identify necessary changes, communicate with others about those changes, and inspire their colleagues to collaborate. By seeking the degree to increase their skills in direct instruction or to transition into school or district leadership and administration, they can be leaders in their communities.

Learn more about USM’s Master of Science in Education in Teacher Leadership with a Concentration in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment online program.


Council of Chief State School Officers:  InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards and Leaning Progressions for Teachers 1.0

Reading Rockets: What Does the Research Tell Us About Teacher Leadership?

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