Leadership Team


A leadership team is typically a group of administrators, teachers, and other staff members who make important governance decisions in a school and/or who lead and coordinate school-improvement initiatives. While most leadership teams are composed of on-staff administrators and educators, the specific composition of a team can vary widely from school to school, and the teams may also include student, parent, and community representatives—a variation that is often called a school-improvement committee or school-improvement council, among other terms. Participants may volunteer for a leadership team, or they may be recruited by administrators. Educators may also receive a stipend for taking on leadership-team responsibilities, especially if the school has received a grant to fund the positions, but it can be just as common for educators to volunteer their time. Not all schools have leadership teams.

Readers should note that, while the term leadership team is commonly used throughout the country, educators frequently create unique, home-grown vocabularies and names when referring to these teams, committees, or councils in their school or district.


A more traditional leadership-team model might include the subject-area department chairs, such as the head of the English department, math department, and so on. But in recent decades, leadership teams have evolved into a form of shared leadership—the practice of expanding the number of people involved in making important decisions related to the organization, operation, and academics of a school. Leadership teams are frequently created to carry out a school-improvement plan, or action plan, and they typically function somewhat like executive committees—i.e., they are made up of individuals delegated to make decisions or execute specific responsibilities in the interests of the larger organization. Leadership teams may also include specialists who can speak and act on behalf certain student populations, such as educators with expertise in teaching disabled students or who have language skills that can assist in communicating with non-English-speaking students and parents. For a related discussion, see voice.

While the specific roles and responsibilities of a leadership team may vary widely from school to school or district to district, its functions may include any of the following representative examples:

  • Developing, coordinating, and leading a school-improvement initiative.
  • Analyzing student-performance data and proposing specific strategies to address programs, courses, or instructional areas in need of improvement.
  • Encouraging, facilitating, and supporting greater collaboration among teachers in the school.
  • Overseeing and improving professional-development opportunities for teachers and staff members.
  • Selecting, revising, or updating the school’s curriculum, textbooks, or learning technologies.
  • Addressing issues related to faculty relationships and the school’s professional, social, or academic culture.
  • Making recommendations on school-budget decisions related to learning resources and program funding.
  • Improving internal communications—among faculty and staff—and external communications—between the school and its broader community.
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