School of Education & Professional Studies (SEPS)







Program (tap/click to download/print program)

8:00 - 8:30 Registration & Refreshments

8:30 - 8:55 Welcome & Opening Remarks
Purpose of Institute and Preview of the Day – Dr. Betty J. Sternberg
Commissioner of Education Dianna R. Wentzell 
CEA Director of Policy, Research and Reform Donald E. Williams, Jr.
CCSU Dean, School of Education and Professional Studies, Michael P. Alfano

8:55 - 9:00  Introduction to Yong Zhao by one of the Teacher Leader Fellows

9:00 - 9:45   Dr. Yong Zhao, Supporting Teacher Leaders and Administrators in Emphasizing Creativity, Collaboration and Innovation in Classrooms and Schools

9:45 - 10:00   Q & A - Zhao

10:00 - 10:10  Move to breakout rooms

10:15 - 11:15  Breakout sessions (see below)

11:15 - 11:25 Reconvene in large conference room

11:30 - 12:30 Tony Wagner, a presentation via Skype on Supporting Creativity, Collaboration and Innovation in Students and in Teachers with reaction by and conversation with Yong Zhao

12:30 – 12:45 Break

12:45 - 1:45 LUNCH - Presentation of Teacher Leader Fellows' Certificates

1:45 - 1:55 Move to breakout rooms

2:00 - 3:00 Breakout sessions (see below – some repeats from morning)

3:00 - 3:10 Reconvene in large conference room

3:15 - 3:45 Day Summary with Panel of Teacher Leaders and their Supporters in The Fellowship Program. Moderator: Dr. Anthony Rigazio-Digilio, Professor, Educational Leadership, Policy & Instructional Technology 


Breakout Sessions

1. Teacher Leaders as Coaches and Mentors – Mr. Hal Portner
Experienced teachers and teacher leaders pass it forward. Come away from this interactive session with essential coaching and mentoring skills and behaviors. Learn how to lead a coaching conversation, individualize interactions and apply the "Coaching Cycle" with newbies and peers from a veteran teacher, administrator and author of Mentoring New Teachers and Leader of Leaders: The Handbook for Principals on the Cultivation, Support and Impact of Teacher-Leaders.

2. Duke TeachHouse: A Model for Early Career Teacher Leadership, Innovation, and Resiliency – Dr. Jan Riggsbee, Mr. Benton Wise and Ms. Ashley Pollard
Learn how Duke TeachHouse, a first-of-its-kind living and learning community for early career teachers, focused on teacher leadership, innovation and health/well-being. Meet the Director and learn more about how this university/district partnership supports early career teacher leaders. Hear from two of those teacher leaders, both graduates of Duke's teacher preparation program and recipients of innovation grants, discuss those grants, their ideas, process and how they are launching their innovation projects in their schools.

3. How a large district organized itself to support teacher leaders; how the high school principal enables its teacher leaders – Ms. Ebone Lockett, Ms. Alicisa Johnson
Learn how Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools in North Carolina is supporting teacher leaders throughout this district of approximately 145,600 students and 8600 teachers.  Hear from one of this district’s teacher leaders – a former teacher in Hartford and a CCSU Master’s in Educational Leadership graduate – the ways in which she has been supported.  Hear from her Cato Middle College High School Principal - a veteran educator of 26 years – how she supports teacher leaders at the school. The session will engage participants interactively in conceptualizing innovative ways to encourage and promote teacher leadership and cultivate an inclusive leadership learning model that is safe for educators - especially in large districts - to engage in while adding to their effectiveness in the classroom.

4. Teacher Leadership and Authentic Voice: Leading from the Classroom – Ms. Cheri Burke, Ms. Stacy Begert, Ms. Michele Deeb
Come learn from three educators in this small regional district of approximately 2600 students from the towns of Harwinton and Burlington, Connecticut how the district and schools have organized to provide teacher voice and shared decision making to teachers.  Hear from the district’s Director of Student Learning and two teacher leaders – a Teacher Leader Council co-chair high school teacher and a Teacher Leader Council member elementary school teacher -- how CT Regional School District #10 implemented a Teacher Leadership Council (TLC) at both the district and school levels. Insights will be shared regarding teacher leadership as a vehicle for effective feedback and dialog between and among teachers, principals and central office administrators to build a coherent vision for effective teaching and learning practices.

5. Empowering Teacher Leadership by Design: Opening Up the Classroom Doors - Dr. Jeremy Visone and Ms. Melissa Corso
Teachers are not empowered in their work by accident. Many learning opportunities are lost in schools because of the structure and schedule of most schools, where teachers are not typically able to see and learn from each other's work. Explore principles and strategies that underlie teacher empowerment, as well as a specific professional development design through which teachers can observe and learn from each other, with a former Newington elementary school principal and current CCSU Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and one of the teacher leaders in his former school.

6. Is Teacher Leadership the Panacea for Teaching Quality? – Dr. Yan Liu
Come hear cutting-edge research revealing that teachers' roles in instructional management have a positive effect on teaching quality, while teachers' involvement in hiring and student affairs negatively impacts teachers' instructional efficacy in general. Explore this fascinating research with CCSU's new Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership.

7. Using PLCs as a Vehicle to Cultivate and Support Teacher Leaders – Ms. Sue Renehan
Teacher leadership is an indispensable factor in ensuring that students receive a quality education and that teachers are instrumental in providing the leadership among their colleagues to ensure student learning and performance. Explore how this can be done using PLCs with CREC's Education Specialist who supports educators in the areas of instruction, assessment, teacher evaluation, and teacher leadership.

8. Establishing a School Culture in Elementary Schools that Enables Teacher Leadership – Ms. Shandra Brown, Ms. Tina Mirto
This presentation focuses on how a veteran elementary school principal at a CREC magnet school has established a professional and collegial culture that supports her staff in being teacher leaders. Collaborating with the school's "theme coach," these educators work with teachers, students and local museums to implement project-based learning that encourages analytical thinking skills and a new way of teaching that imparts creative life skills.

9. Solving Problems Together: How to Begin a Collaborative Exploration of a Problem of Practice – Ms. Michele O'Neill
In this interactive, participant-driven session, teachers and administrators will work collaboratively to identify a district or school issue or problem of practice. Participants will then have the opportunity with the facilitation of a CEA Educational Issues Specialist to construct a framework for setting short-term and long-term goals, and identify potential roadblocks or resources they need to help achieve their collaborative goal.

10. Rethinking Time: Innovative Scheduling Solutions that Increase Time for Teacher Collaboration – Ms. Kate Field
"We don't have time for this!" is a common refrain uttered by teachers and administrators in school districts across the country. Common Core, standardized test preparation, a complex educator evaluation process, and ever-changing professional development mandates consume so much time little remains for teachers to engage in meaningful collaboration focused on teaching and learning. This session, led by CEA's Teacher Development Specialist, will offer practical strategies to help identify creative ways to rethink existing time without shortchanging instruction or infringing on teacher prep periods. When teachers and administrators work together to think differently about time, it creates a shared commitment to democratic decision-making, more innovative instruction, and improved student

11. Conversation with the 33 Teacher Leader Fellows - Dr. Yong Zhao [for Teacher Leader Fellows Only]
Dr. Zhao will expand upon the points in his keynote address and conduct an interactive session with the Teacher Leader Fellows to explore further his ideas with them.