An Ode to the High School Lead Teacher

I have the great fortune to work with some amazing teachers and amongst them I have a special place in my heart for the High School Lead Teacher. Being a leader is never easy, and even more difficult when tasked with being a leader of people you’ve possibly known for years or on the opposite end, serving as a leader of educators who’ve taught for as long as you’ve been alive. For many leads, they are asked to navigate many roles and spaces from serving as CFO’s of large grants to playing the role of IT consultants.

Yet, what I love most about Lead Teachers is their role as the vision holders of their small learning communities. It is easy to move through the days and weeks of a school site, from period to period, class to class, putting out fires, grading tests and planning lessons (which are all very important). Yet, the amazing lead teachers I work with rise above the fray to see the grand vision of the group of teachers and students with whom they work. If the career theme of the small learning community is Business and Public Service or STEM, the lead teacher helps remind the school community of the larger goal, to not just pass classes and tests, but to create future Entrepreneurs or Engineers. In a world where it is easy to focus on the immediate, Lead Teaches are tasked with serving as faith builders to asking of themselves and their fellow educators to step outside of their specific classrooms or specific content and buy into a collective vision and mission. This is not an easy task, there is no teacher credentialing program for this type of work. It takes a special educator to be a lead teacher and thankfully I work with very special educators.

So in the spirit of teacher appreciation week, I would like to dedicate this ode to the “Lead Teacher.” Thank you for all the hats you wear and your willingness to work alongside with me to create unique, relevant programs of study that authentically engage our students in a vision of themselves beyond graduation and A-G requirements. I am thankful and consistently inspired by all that you do.

Sarah Schuler-Brown

Sarah Schuler-Brown is an Education Specialist at the Center and a Pasadena native competing her dissertation at the UCLA Graduate School of Education on the transition of students from high school to community college. While at UCLA, Sarah worked with Center X to increase and enhance the computer science learning opportunities in LAUSD and with The Civil Rights Project on issues of desegregation and college access. Sarah completed her Master’s Degree at Colombia University where she worked with New York City High Schools.