Leadership Policy Professional Learning
Get Caught in the “Web” of Teacher Leadership
August 29, 2017
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Maureen Henderson

Imagine a spider spinning a web.  It begins with individual fibers, then works to strengthen them, carefully finishing with their connection.  

Across the state of Tennessee there are many strands of teacher leadership being spun.  Amazing initiatives and programs have been put in place to reinforce them.  What does it look like when these pieces are woven together to create a strong, powerful design?

The Tennessee Teacher Collaborative was established to collectively build an overarching network structure for teacher leadership and collaboration.


  • Ensure teacher leadership efforts are coordinated, working toward a common vision, and have impact.
  • Expand the role of teacher leadership in attracting, attaining, and supporting highly effective educators.
  • Amplify educator voice, and support empowered educators.
  • Identify and expand access to teacher leadership opportunities in Tennessee.
  • Prioritize teacher leadership as a long-term strategy statewide that is supported by a network of partners.


  • Advocate
  • Coach
  • Influence
  • Connect

My personal story surrounding teacher leadership began when I was asked to serve on the Teacher Leader Network.  Our county’s team consisted of a district representative, a school administrator, an instructional coach, and me, a classroom teacher.  As we all drove to the first meeting, I remember having the conversation about how I had the goal to seek leadership opportunities, but felt very limited without an administrative degree.  I wondered what options were there for professional advancement and educational leadership for me.

Ironically, about that same time, I was invited to participate in a focus group of teachers for the Hope Street Group.  This idea of teachers meeting collectively and giving feedback on policy issues was intriguing.  So, when the chance soon arose, I applied to the teacher fellowship.  

The Teacher Leader Network and the Hope Street Group have both made an enormous impact on my personal and professional growth.  I have met the most amazing group of people, and have learned something from each of them.

I hope to continue to build capacity in myself and others by sharing this wonderful resource from the Tennessee Teacher Leader Collaborative (TTLC).

Much like a spider web, each teacher is unique, and their experience is intricate.  

As educators, our connections extend our learning, and our leadership networks provide support.   

Teacher Leadership………Wonder at its complexity, and get caught in the web!

Visit our new website at:  www.tnteacherleader.org

This article was originally published on the Score Sheet at https://tnscore.org/get-caught-in-the-web-of-teacher-leadership/

Maureen Henderson is the Innovation Academy Coordinator for Springfield Middle School’s Magnet Program. She has been an educator in Robertson County since 1997. Maureen taught fourth grade at Greenbrier Elementary School for seven years. Previously, she taught twelve years in sixth grade at Greenbrier Middle School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Georgian Court College and a Master’s degree in school counseling from Western Kentucky University. Maureen is a member of the Tennessee Teacher Leader Network. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.

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