I Teach NYC

Discover what it means to be a Lead Teacher

Are you interested in leading adults while continuing to serve as a classroom teacher? Do you want to be recognized as an instructional teacher leader within your school building? Does the idea of joining a cohort of like-minded peers and colleagues excite you? The Lead Teacher role encompasses all of those opportunities - and it offers you a chance to have a broader impact on student learning in your school community. Read on an overview of the role and the experiences of current Lead Teachers, sign up for an upcoming conference call with Lead Teachers to hear about a ‘day in the life’ of a Lead Teacher, or check out the Lead Teacher Program website and watch the Lead Teacher webinar. You are also encouraged to email the team at LeadTeachers@schools.nyc.gov with any questions.

What does it mean to be a Lead Teacher?

Lead Teachers are practitioners who support the in-house and ongoing professional learning of other teachers by spending half their time teaching in their own classroom, and the other half supporting the development of their peers. Lead Teachers are selected through a rigorous selection process based on their ability to increase student achievement.

The work of a Lead Teacher is multidimensional. They spend considerable time formally supporting the growth and development of their colleagues by conducting collaborative inquiry, sharing and analyzing students' work, and collaborating with department and grade level teams to design performance tasks, and/or aligning practice to Common Core standards. In addition to their teaching responsibilities, Lead Teachers collaborate with school leaders to establish priorities and develop action plans aligned to school-wide goals.

If you’re interested in becoming a Lead Teacher, you should consider speaking with your principal. Any school can hire a Lead Teacher; however, the school is responsible for funding the position, including the additional Lead Teacher compensation. In addition, teachers must successfully complete the central selection cycle to become eligible for a Lead Teacher role in any school. The application for the next central selection process will open in spring 2014. If you have any questions about hiring and funding, please contact our team at LeadTeachers@schools.nyc.gov. For more details on the eligibility requirements, selection process, salary information and more, check out the Lead Teacher Program online.

(Please note that while Lead Teacher role and the Teacher Leadership Program (TLP) share similar names, they are two distinct programs. Click here for more information on TLP.)

What do current Lead Teachers have to say about their experiences?

Lead Teachers overwhelmingly share that the most attractive components of this role involve having the opportunity to broaden their influence beyond their classroom while supporting the development of their peers through their work in the classroom learning lab modeling practice.

Aristides Uy, a math Lead Teacher at International Community High School, says, “I've always been interested in this position. When you get to work closely with teachers, it’s just so amazing.” Carolyn Gabriel, a Lead Teacher who has taught Special Ed for eight years at Bushwick Leaders HS for Academic Excellence, adds, “My platform is not just my students, but encouraging collaboration across different areas of my school.”

Aristides enjoys facilitating weekly professional development sessions for teachers to prepare for school-wide events. “This year included a PD on mentoring and the graduation portfolio process, where teachers and staff are assigned graduating student mentees that they work with to prepare for graduation.” “We wear a lot of hats,” chuckles Carolyn Gabriel in agreement. Carolyn also credits organization as the key to her success in managing this dual role. “I have gotten good at setting up schedules, facilitating how teachers plan and work together and creating logistical systems.”

Ultimately Carolyn sees the Lead Teacher role as a facilitator and coach who is just one factor in a team effort: “I'm the coordinator but everyone plays a part towards moving us in the direction of higher Regents scores, lower suspension rates, higher graduation rates, etc.” She concludes, “I like that I get to work with my peers and also be in the classroom—it’s really the best of both worlds.”

Information on the application & selection process

For more information on the Lead Teacher role, including eligibility guidelines and the selection process, visit the Lead Teacher Program online.

To request information for the upcoming recruitment cycle in spring 2014, email the team at LeadTeachers@schools.nyc.gov.