As an experienced educator who has spent time strengthening your teaching skills in the classroom, you might be now be interested in expanding your experience. By broadening your horizons, you may see that a position of leadership, whether inside your school building or outside, is a professional avenue worth exploring.
Positions Inside the School Building
Becoming a true leader at the school building level may be the first step you take to achieving your goals and finding the right place to use your experience and skills. Although these positions are not necessarily full-time, many teachers with a master’s degree in educational leadership find great satisfaction in continuing to work with their classroom colleagues while assuming additional responsibility.
Some example of building leadership positions are:
School or team leader – Teachers who are interested in challenging themselves while helping their colleagues, students and school can make the choice to assume additional leadership responsibilities.
For example, a school leader will serve on committees for school improvement, act as grade-level leader or department chair, or represent the school at community events and in district-wide task forces. The rewards of this voluntary position may be simply personal growth and satisfaction or it may be in the form of a stipend up to several thousand dollars, depending on the district.
Curriculum specialist – A curriculum specialist at the building level is a position of leadership that involves creating continuity and collaboration. As a curriculum specialist, you may work with your own team or across a grade level. You may work with teachers in similar “specialist” positions, such as art, music and physical education, to ensure that students are receiving similar instruction at a relatively common pace.
You will help your colleagues collect assessment information and make sound data-driven instructional decisions. At the middle and high school levels, curriculum specialists also work with teachers in other content areas to make better use of cross-content curriculum materials.
Mentor – As new teachers enter the field, they are faced with increasingly complicated reporting requirements, testing procedures and general classroom responsibilities. Even the most willing principal cannot take the time necessary to properly help them succeed in the first few months or even year of teaching. If your district has a formal mentor program, a novice teacher will be assigned to you for support, encouragement and guidance. Your job will be to listen to, help and challenge the protÃ©gÃ©. You will provide a safe and judgment-free setting in which your mentee can ask questions and reveal difficulties without fear of reprisal.
Although many teachers mentor informally on a regular basis, formal mentors may receive a yearly stipend of between $200 and $1,000 per year, depending on your district, your responsibilities and the time required for the position.
Positions Outside the School Building or District
After earning a master of education in educational leadership degree, you may be qualified for a position at the district level. If you would like to reach outside of the district setting, you may find a position at the university level or even in a corporate setting that better suits your skills and interest.
District director or coordinator – If you would like to leave the classroom but remain in a public-school setting, you may be interested in becoming a district director or coordinator. In general, directors and coordinators at the district level oversee the implementation of a specific department or district function.
For example, as director of student services, you will provide the necessary resources to enable academic and personal achievement for all students. As director of assessment, you will ensure that the administration of high-stakes testing is completed with fidelity. In addition, you will be required to report mandated data to the local and state educational authorities and oversee the district improvement process.
Other similar positions at the district level are director of curriculum, special education and professional development. In 2018, the average pay range for district level directors and coordinators was quite broad, ranging from $40,000 to $75,000 per year (PayScale data as of April 2018).
College admissions director – More than a talent scout for the university, the college admissions director must meet the needs of prospective students while considering the financial and academic standards of the institution. As the admissions director, you will evaluate the applications of candidates and select those best suited to the university or college and its mission.
In addition, you will want to maintain strong relationships with faculty members and administrators and their programs so you can accurately answer questions asked by prospective students and families. This position could involve travel. The median pay for this position, as of June 2018, is approximately $66,167 per year with the top earners making more than $93,000.
Policy analyst – The mission of the National Education Association (NEA) is to “to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.”
As a policy analyst at the NEA, you will contribute to the identification, development and implementation of advocacy programs that support the policies of the NEA on issues like closing achievement gaps, full-day kindergarten, reducing school drop-out rates and social justice, to name a few.
In this position, you will examine programs and engage members, creating advocacy strategies on behalf of students to meet the national, state and local goals of the NEA. In 2018, the pay for this position was approximately $82,000 per year.
An All-Online Degree to Earn While You Teach
If you are considering a change in position or accepting additional responsibilities in the position you currently have, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Management from Fitchburg State University might be the next professional step to take.
This all-online program “prepares educators for a broad range of administrative and leadership roles, both inside and outside the classroom, by enhancing necessary skills and competencies.” Whether you are searching for opportunities inside or outside of the school building, earning this master’s degree will help you as you navigate the wide range of possibilities that await.