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Acclaimed scholars to participate in UF’s first International Teacher Leadership Conference

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Globally recognized speakers and researchers are beginning to line up to participate in the University of Florida College of Education’s first international academic conference to explore the crucial role a new generation of “teacher leaders” can have in improving public schools and student achievement.

The International Teacher Leadership Conference, scheduled March 2-3 in Miami, is designed to bring together scholars and practitioners from across Florida, the country and the world to examine the emerging field of teacher leadership.

The conference is being organized by the Lastinger Center for Learning, the College of Education’s R&D arm that spearheads professional development programs to improve teaching and learning in schools and districts across Florida and beyond.

Conference organizers have already begun receiving proposals for research papers and presentations, and they hope to get hundreds by the June 30 submission deadline. They also have confirmed keynote speakers who are widely known for their methods of teaching and scholarship to improve education from the inside out.

Registration for the conference opens Sept. 1. The registration fee is $250. There are 150 scholarships available for teachers who will make presentations at the conference. Scholarships will cover registration fee and lodging.

The formal title of the conference is “Co-constructing a New Vision for Teacher Leadership: A Conversation Among Scholars and Practitioners About Teacher Leadership.”

Among other things, conference goers will discuss what educators mean by teacher leadership, which in the broadest terms refers teachers who lead school improvements in and outside of their classrooms.

“The field still lacks a common conception of the meaning of teacher leaders,” said Philip Poekert, assistant director of the Lastinger Center. “Our hope is the conference will create a framework for conversations and research about effective teacher leadership.”

Many educators increasingly view teacher leadership as a way to drive school improvement and enhance educational outcomes. For many years, scholars have been examining teacher leadership and have explored aspects such as the influence teacher leaders can have and how they can spark student achievement.

“Teacher leadership has become a central part of school reform efforts across the world,” said Tom Dana, associate dean of the UF College of Education. “This is an ideal time to create an exchange of ideas among scholars and practitioners to better understand teacher leadership and to advance the theory and practice in the field.”

The upcoming conference is the latest element of a new UF College of Education program to develop leadership skills among kindergarten-to-high school teachers. In February, the Lastinger Center selected 40 teachers for a new Florida Teacher Leader Fellows program to build a statewide teacher leadership network, improve the quality of classroom teaching and enhance outcomes for students.

The 18-month professional development program will conclude at the Miami conference, where these practicing teacher leaders will interact with education scholars from around the world. Below are confirmed speakers for the conference.

  • Gloria Ladson-Billings’ research examines the practices of teachers who are successful in multicultural classrooms. She is the author of critically acclaimed books, including “The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children.” She holds the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also is past president of American Educational Research Association.
  • Nancy Fichtman Dana is a best-selling author and expert in the study of practitioner inquiry. She serves as a professor of education in the School of Teaching and Learning at UF’s College of Education. Author of 10 books and over 60 articles, she has coached numerous teachers across the country and abroad in the study of their own teaching and leadership practice.
  • John MacBeath is professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge and has authored or co-authored 20 books on education. He serves as director of Leadership for Learning at the Cambridge Network and projects director for the Centre for Commonwealth Education. His research focuses on educational leadership, and he also has worked with schools, education authorities and national governments on school self-evaluation.

See the conference website to learn more about the event, submission guidelines, and other details.

Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449
Media Liaison: Larry Lansford, director of News and Communications, 352-273-4137