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NEA’s Leadership Agenda

The Next Generation of Leaders

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NEA’s Leadership Agenda: The next generation of leaders
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last updated: May 13, 2014



NEA’s Leadership Agenda

NEA’s Leadership Agenda is about the identification, development, and deployment of educator leaders who are focused on student learning, responsible for quality professional practice, and committed to the core values of the NEA. Too often, Leadership in the NEA context has meant preparing members to take on formal roles within the Association at the local, state, and national level. Outside the NEA context, Leadership has often been defined as a narrow set of roles for teachers and other educators in school governance. Neither of these definitions captures the entire story of what it means to lead a student-centered Association and lead the education professions. The NEA has expanded the old definition of leadership and developed a range of programs and initiatives to develop educators within three frames of Next Generation Leadership:

  • Instructional Leadership: Leading to improve student learning and professional practice;
  • Policy Leadership: Leading to impact education and social policy that supports quality teaching and learning;
  • Union Leadership: Leading to build the next generation of a strong, unified, and student-centered education association.

This Next Generation Leader works collaboratively – both within and outside the Association – to co-create solutions designed to shape the future of education, improve student learning, achieve educational equity, enhance professional practice, and advance successful solutions that drive national, state and district level policies.

To address development within these frames of education leadership, the NEA is building pipelines on two related but separate paths:

  • Association leaders who are prepared to “lead the profession” and organize members around a student-centered, professional improvement agenda.
  • Education leaders who may never have a formal role in the Association but who are leading efforts to improve professional practice and who are deeply committed to the core values of the Association and union engagement.

NEA’s new Leadership Competencies are designed to guide the NEA, its affiliates, and its members in developing learning opportunities to ensure that emerging next generation leaders have the skills, knowledge, and dispositions to lead education professions and the union. The NEA Leadership Agenda incorporates a range of strategies including: Common Core-centered instructional support; local leadership development; networking educators to learn from one another; innovative partnerships with a range of organizations; and funding new, Association-led efforts to improve educator practice and student learning.

NEA Leadership Initiatives

NEA Leadership Summits

Exposes leaders and prospective leaders to the NEA Leadership Competencies and creates a new leadership development paradigm within the Association that will influence all leadership development pipelines and re-set expectations and emphasize the importance of rejuvenating leadership.

NEA’s Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI)

Establishes a year-long teacher leadership pilot project that includes a comprehensive curriculum, leadership capstone project, and a leadership assessment. The initial cohorts of TLI candidates are from six affiliates: Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Colorado, Iowa, and Arizona.

Elevating ESP Careers

Identifies, develops and implements strategies that enable ESPs to elevate their careers and lead the professions, building support for all educators working together to meet the needs of all students.

NEA’s Pre-Representative Assembly (RA) Leadership Symposium

Deliver a pre-RA event that attracts at least 1,500 RA delegates and NEA education leaders who are committed to moving an association-led, student-centered agenda and advancing a plan of action to implement NEA’s great public schools for every student agenda.

NEA/BetterLesson Master Teacher Project

Provides an exciting learning opportunity for teachers transitioning to the Common Core State Standards and gives recognition and professional development opportunities to exceptional teachers across the country while creating and sharing Common Core aligned lessons.

ESP’s Leaders for Tomorrow

Identifies trains, develops, and deploys the next generation of ESP leaders across the nation to prepare them to lead in great public schools.

NEA’s Common Core Workgroup

Empowers and equips our members to advocate for implementing the Common Core State Standards with fidelity; strengthens their professional practice to ensure they can deliver deeper instruction in the context of the new standards and the required shifts; and ensures that educators are provided the resources and time to collaborate regarding their practice and assessment of student work.

NEA/TeachPlus Future of the Profession Fellowships

Provides 58 teachers and NEA members an exciting year-long program to gain a foundation in education policy, research, and best practices from around the nation and to provide recognition and professional opportunities to early career teachers (years 3 -10).

The NEA GPS Network

Provides an online network and resource tool that engages NEA members, partners and community in collaborating to improve public education and promote student success.


  • anc_dyn_linksGreat Public Schools Criteria
    NEA’s vision of what great public schools need and should provide.



  • anc_dyn_linksBuilding the Next Generation of Teacher Leaders