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Rural Teacher Leader Collaborative 2019-20

Is there a problem in your school that you want to take leadership on and work with your peer teachers to solve? Would you like to positively impact student learning, while receiving development as an educational leader, individual coaching support in tackling your school’s challenge, and connection to a network of other dynamic teacher leaders, all without having to leave the classroom?  The Rural Teacher Leader Collaborative will recruit, select, train, and support outstanding Teacher Leaders to lead a school-based effort to address a problem of practice that affects students across their school. The Collaborative is funded through the Illinois State Board of Education, and is a collaboration of Teach Plus and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, hosted by Bunker Hill school district.

What is the Rural Teacher Leader Collaborative?

Teach Plus recruits and selects Teacher Leaders who demonstrate effectiveness in their classroom and proficiency in their content area as well as the potential to develop the skills necessary for effectively leading other teachers.

To apply to this program, a teacher and principal co-identify an issue within their school that affects teacher practice and student outcomes in an academic area and aligns to the schoolwide priorities. 

Once selected, this teacher becomes a Teach Plus teacher leader (TL), joining the Rural Teacher Leader Collaborative cohort with TLs from other selected schools. Teach Plus will support the Rural TL in tackling their problem throughout the school year, in the following ways: 

  • Leadership Training - Kicking off in September, we’ll host a teacher leadership training session, helping TLs create SMART goals and action plans to address the issue that they'd like to change in their respective schools.  
  • Monthly Coaching - Monthly during the school year, Teach Plus provides regular coaching sessions and cohort meetings to support TLs in their growth as educational leaders throughout the implementation of their action plans.  
  • Stipend - In recognition of their time and effort, Teach Plus will also award all participating Teacher Leaders a $1,600 stipend. 

At this moment, we are looking for TLs who are National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) or who are in the process of working on their National Boards, from rural Illinois schools to lead change projects in their schools. NBCTs from any school within about an hour’s drive from Bunker Hill (our host) may apply.  We are particularly interested in teachers at schools with a significant number of low-income students, or schools that are in Tier 1 or 2 of the Evidence Based Funding Model, but we encourage all NBCTs to apply.  If you have or are working on your National Board certification, we welcome you (with the support of your principal) to apply to the Rural Teacher Leader program.

As a Rural Teacher Leader, you will:

  • Work with your principal to identify a high-leverage problem that aligns with schoolwide priorities, which you will address with a team of teachers throughout the school year;
  • Attend a two day kick-off training in September, tentatively scheduled for September 7th & 8th, to develop your SMART goals and action plan. An administrator with access to data and decision-making power must attend with you for the first two hours of the training (Principals strongly encouraged);
  • Work independently and collaboratively each month with Teach Plus coaches and the Rural Teacher Leader cohort to discuss, analyze data, reflect, and revise action plans. Cohort meetings will last 2-3 hours and occur once a month (alternating between virtual and in person sessions);
  • Share your progress and results with the Illinois State Board of Education so that other school districts can learn from your work and example.

All applicants must be current classroom teachers with a minimum of two years of teaching experience in a rural Illinois school and hold National Board Certification, or are currently pursuing National Board Certification.  Preference may be given to teachers who teach in schools with a significant low-income student population, or in low-funded schools, though we encourage all interested teachers to apply. Applicants must demonstrate that they possess the critical skills and competencies required for effectively leading their peers.

Application Process

Part 1- Online application
Part 2- Performance task & virtual interview
Part 3- Principal phone interview & reference check

Application and Series Timeline

Virtual Information Session: Thursday, August 1st, 2019 @ 7-8 pm.
Click here to register for an information session to learn more about the program and hear from other teachers who have gone through similar programs in Illinois. If you can’t make it, please let us know, and we will share the session with you.
Application Deadline: Monday, August 12th, 2019 @ 11:59 pm
Teacher Leader Interviews (conducted virtually): August 12th- 20th
Principal Phone Interview & Reference Check: August 21st-22nd
Kick-off: September 7th-8th (tentatively scheduled)
Monthly cohort meetings: Exact day and time TBD, but starting in October

Please contact Jessica Bellingeri ( with any questions.