Measure to Create Advisory Board and Program to Fill Leadership roles in School Districts
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey, Patrick Diegnan, Ralph R. Caputo and Angelica M. Jimenez to encourage more of New Jersey’s teachers to take part in educational leadership roles received final legislative approval Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk.
The sponsors note the purpose of the legislation is to create a teacher leader endorsement program that would identify the skills, knowl¬edge, and requirements necessary to fulfill leadership roles in school districts. Teacher leaders would serve as coaches, mentors, and facilitators of professional learning.
“Teacher leadership goes beyond the four walls of a classroom,” said Jasey (D-Essex, Morris). “We must encourage and support our most dedicated, innovative educators to expand their roles and become professional leaders in their field. Fellow educators, schools, and students will benefit greatly from their expertise.”
“The opportunity to grow within your profession is important to any individual, “said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Teachers taking on leadership roles, serving as experts, supporting decision-making in school and being a resource to fellow teachers is a critical factor in our maintaining excellence in an ever-changing educational environment.”
The bill would establish a Teacher Leader Endorsement Advisory Board in the Department of Education to make recommendations to the Department of Education and State Board of Education regarding the program of study for the teacher leader endorsement. The advisory board would continue to meet after the recommendations are made in order to continue to advise the department regarding any necessary adjustments and assess the outcomes of the program of study. No later than five years after the bill’s effective date, the advisory board would make recommendations to the State board regarding non-supervisory roles and responsibilities for which a teacher leader endorsement should be required.
“Educators are important sources of information and their expertise is a valuable resource,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “In leadership positions, teachers feel part of the change or development of school improvement and, by working collaboratively they support fellow teachers by taking a lead in achieving the collective goal.”
“Our educators are model leaders. They prove it each and everyday in the classroom,” said Jimenez (D-Bergen, Hudson). “Creating a program to further develop a teacher’s leadership skills to be able to lead their colleagues to success will make an invaluable impact on education.”
This bill would authorize a teacher leader endorsement to a teacher’s instructional certificate. In order to be eligible for the teacher leader endorsement, an applicant will be required to: complete a program of study equivalent to, at a minimum, 12 graduate credits or 180 clock hours; and complete five years of full-time teaching under a valid provisional or standard certificate, or a combination thereof, issued by the State Board of Examiners.
Under the provisions of the bill, a State institution of higher education, an educational organization, or other non-profit entity, or a combination thereof, may apply to the Department of Education to offer a program of study preparing teachers for eligibility of a teacher leader endorsement. The State Board of Education will be required to set the standards for the program.
The bill was approved 33-0 by the Senate on Thursday and 75-0-1 by the Assembly in June.