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Teacher Leadership Program

Master of Education in Teacher Leadership (M.Ed.), Educational Specialist in Teacher Leadership (Ed.S.), and Teacher Leader Endorsement (Illinois)

Teachers seeking leadership roles will be interested in NLU's new Teacher Leadership program which focuses on developing teacher leadership throughout the school, encouraging effective teamwork and teacher mentoring, and providing a platform for teacher team involvement in furthering the school's effectiveness and enriching its culture. In high demand nationwide, Teacher Leaders mentor and coach fellow teachers, lead school improvement efforts, and collaborate across their schools to improve teaching and learning.

NLU's Teacher Leadership program is distinctly well-suited for career-oriented teachers with a passion for students and a strong aspiration to lead from a teacher role rather than transitioning into school administration. Teachers who have taken on informal leadership roles and received feedback indicating that they are natural leaders will benefit strongly from adding the knowledge and competencies addressed in NLU's Teacher Leadership.

Consider NLU's Teacher Leadership program if you:

  • Love the profession and want to expand what you do in the classroom with leadership of your colleagues.
  • Enjoy working with students and teachers with a preference for the classroom rather than the administrative office.
  • Feel a personal drive to expand your sphere of influence and knowledge base about teaching, learning, and leadership.
  • Find it interesting to explore ideas about your own professional identity, your unique professional brand as an expert educator, and your own professional practice.
  • Resonate with the idea of joining a community of learners where you can share stories and issues with fellow teachers and empathic NLU faculty whom started in PreK-12 classrooms themselves.

Since 1886, NLU’s National College of Education (NCE) has trained thousands of Chicago-area teachers, and our reputation for quality continues. Our graduates have won the prestigious Golden Apple teaching award more often than graduates from any other university in Illinois.

Teacher leadership uses NLU’s signature pedagogy of convening a community of inquiry focused on problems of educational practice defined by the program participants themselves. Teachers value NLU courses as their own professional renewal time to talk extensively about their own professional practice with supportive peers and expert faculty.

Our faculty bring a wealth of practical experience and academic knowledge to the classroom—creating a unique depth to our education programs. Faculty come from either a previous teaching career in pre K–12 schools or from deep engagement with teachers and schools in conducting educational research. NCE faculty deeply understand and respect teachers.

With an accent on both accessibility and engagement, an NLU teacher leadership endorsement or degree can be pursued fully online with faculty and colleague contact through occasional scheduled video conferences focused on open discussion and supportive human interaction about program candidate issues.

NLU’s National College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

NLU's Teacher Leadership program is built on Teacher Leader Model Standards developed by professional associations and universities collaborating with National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) organization.

NLUs Teacher Leadership (LDR) courses focus on:

  • emerging as a teacher leader
  • collaborating with stakeholders to promote change
  • guiding data teams in schools
  • mentoring and coaching fellow teachers
  • leading teacher outreach to families and communities
  • promoting cultural fluency
  • leading teacher development
  • advocating for the teaching profession

In their own school settings, or through occasional visits to other schools to diversify experiences, candidates perform clinical experience hours that give them a portfolio of work across all the National Teacher Leader Standards while serving their schools.

M.Ed. and Ed.S. degree candidates in Teacher Leadership add a Teacher Leadership Demonstration Project across three academic terms to plan, implement, and evaluate a teacher TEAM-centered school change project.

Ed.S. degree candidates, as post-master’s advanced graduate students, add studies in national, regional, and state Education Policy that can be applied to selected NLU doctoral programs.

A recent Teacher Quality Center report indicates that Generation Y learners and teachers seek out leadership roles, want to stay in their professions, like to share what they’ve learned, and have a desire to make a difference. In NCE’s Teacher Leadership program, candidates become more versatile members of the school community, developing professional capacities to serve and advance in the following areas:

  • School Improvement Teams
  • Teacher team leadership organized by grade level, specialization, or inclusion plan for co-teaching
  • Mentoring and coaching of individuals and teams in instruction and data analysis
  • Curriculum leadership at the school and district levels
  • Professional development design and training
  • Policy or advocacy voice in school, community, and professional organizations

Teacher Leadership has been called “the future of career progression in teaching” (David Weston, The Guardian)

"Within every school there is a sleeping giant of teacher leadership, which can be a strong catalyst for making change." (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001)

All applicants must meet NLU's general admission requirements as well as additional requirements specific to this program. Refer to the appropriate application checklist available online at

  • Teacher Leader Endorsement candidates must fulfill NCE graduate admissions requirements, document two years' teaching experience, and possess an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) in order to submit for the formal Illinois endorsement.
  • Applicants to the M.Ed. and Ed.S. degrees in Teacher Leadership are required to fulfill NCE graduate admissions requirements, possess at least two years of teaching experience, and document access to an educational venue suitable for Teacher Leadership clinical experiences. M.Ed. and Ed.S. candidates are not required to possess a Professional Educators License or equivalent educator certification.

100% Online

NLU's master's in teacher leadership program is offered 100% online, connecting you to a diverse community of professionals from across the nation.

For more information about enrolling, connect with an enrollment specialist or apply for free today.

For more information about enrolling at any of our locations including Florida, connect with an Enrollment Specialist or Apply for Free today.

Get more information today about enrolling in one of NLU's degree programs. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist or call 888.NLU.TODAY (888-658-8632).

Please note: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) may change the state licensure and endorsement requirements at any time and without prior notice. Teacher candidates will be bound by the requirements in place when applying for licensure, not by the licensure requirements in place when beginning their program. That is, the state may specify that a new regulation is immediately applicable to all candidates with no provisions made for candidates who began their work on licensure under different regulations.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

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