Classroom Teachers Can Now Earn a Lead Professional Educator License in Arkansas

Teacher Leadership Institute staff work together as a group prior to COVID-19.
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Teacher Leadership Institute staff work together as a group prior to COVID-19.

The Teacher Leadership Institute has been approved by the Division of Elementary and Secondary (DESE) as a pathway for K-12 educators to potentially add Teacher Leader endorsement to their current license.

The endorsement will assist those who want to serve in leadership roles beyond the traditional classroom in lieu of administrator positions.

Classroom teachers will now be able to earn a Lead Professional Educator License designation in Arkansas, if they complete the Teacher Leader Institute successfully, and meet the additional requirements established by DESE, said Clint Jones, director of the Arkansas Leadership Academy, which includes the Teacher Leadership Institute.

"The goal is to encourage teacher leaders who can serve in other leadership roles besides the traditional school administrator," Jones said. "Arkansas Leadership Academy is the first state provider to receive this approval from the Arkansas Department of Education."

The academy will implement the program in the 2020-21 academic year. Teachers will be able to prepare for earning the additional licensure endorsement from the classroom.  Teachers must have three years of experience to apply for the institute and meet the criteria of both the Arkansas Leadership Academy and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. A performance assessment and certificate will be given after training is complete through the academy.

The Arkansas General Assembly created the Arkansas Leadership Academy in 1991. Based in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas, it designs creative and innovative approaches for teachers, principals, superintendents, facilitators and school teams in public schools. The academy is made up of 51 partners including 15 universities; nine professional associations; 15 educational cooperatives; the Arkansas departments of education, higher education and career education; the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce; the Arkansas Educational Television Network; Tyson Foods Inc.; Walmart Stores Inc.; superintendent representatives; legislative liaisons; the office of the governor; and the Arkansas Board of Education.


Clinton G. Jones, director, Arkansas Leadership Academy
Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Shannon Magsam, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions


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