The Teacher Leadership Institute, formerly called the Teacher Leadership Initiative, (TLI) is a comprehensive effort to recruit, prepare, activate, and support the next generation of teachers to lead a transformed teaching profession.

TLI is an endeavor of the National Education Association (NEA). We are proud to be supported by the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Increasingly, teachers are seeking new opportunities to advance their careers and the profession by taking on new leadership roles. Through the TLI, teachers will play more consequential roles in shaping the policies and practices that govern teaching and learning.

Vision Statement

To cultivate and activate teachers as leaders who transform the teaching profession in the best interest of students.

Mission Statement

To create a national network of teacher leaders prepared to transform instructional practice, education policy, and education associations.

Program Goals

TLI’s long-term goals are to:

  • Activate teachers as leaders for students and the profession as a result of their participation in this process;
  • Create a national network of teachers equipped with the knowledge and skills to mobilize, advocate, and lead around issues concerning 21st-century student learning, as well as the profession, the association, and education policy;
  • Cultivate a teacher-led initiative to empower teacher leaders and establish a TLI alumni base of 150,000 teacher leaders;
  • Position TLI alumni in key leadership positions in the association at the local, state, and national level;
  • Increase membership and visibility of the association as an integral factor in teachers’ professional development;
  • Develop relevant experiences and supports to help teachers cultivate teacher leadership competencies; and
  • Provide support for teacher-designed leadership plans that address student learning within one key leadership pathway, followed by the demonstration of these plans’ progress and results.

Foundational Components

The Teacher Leadership Institute is a year-long, cohort based learning experience consisting of:

  • Rigorous competency-based curriculum;
  • Applied experience through a self-selected capstone project;
  • Deep local and national community collaboration;
  • Extensive coaching and support; and
  • Evidence-based portfolio and micro-credentials documenting growth in leadership competencies.