Q&A with Specialization Director Sylvia Bagley

How would you describe the TLC Masters Degree with a Specialization in Instructional Leadership?

The TLC Masters Degree with a Specialization in Instructional Leadership (previously referred to as MIL) is a cohort-based, two-year masters degree for experienced educators in both public and private school settings (PreK-12) who want to enhance their skills as instructional leaders but aren't seeking administrative credentials at this time.   

Who is a good candidate for this program?

The ideal candidate for TLC-Instructional Leadership has at least two years of teaching experience, is passionate about helping all children (and teachers!) succeed, and is currently working in a classroom or other education setting. A willingness to work with and learn from peers in the program is also highly desired.

The TLC-Instructional Leadership program places a significant emphasis on developing equity-driven teacher leaders. What qualities do these educators possess?

Equity-driven teacher leadership is at the heart of our program. We believe teacher leaders must understand that a critical component of their work is advocating on behalf of equitable access, opportunities, and outcomes for students from diverse backgrounds. This often means working to shift the culture of their school, so that teachers are interacting collegially for the success of all students.

What is the driving philosophy behind teacher leadership?

Teacher leadership acknowledges and values teachers' skills, insights, and passions by allowing them to share in distributed leadership of some kind at their school. This ranges from PLC facilitation to leading professional development sessions to advocating on behalf of new initiatives that will enhance learning for the entire study body. 

Can you tell us about the field-based experiences that are part of this program? How do they help students grow as educators?

The required courses in TLC-Instructional Leadership ask students to apply what they're learning directly to their workplace setting. For instance, in the course "Coaching and Mentoring Adult Learners", students select a colleague to practice coaching skills with throughout the quarter, and also craft a final action plan for implementing or modifying some kind of coaching cycle at their site. 

What do you hope students take away from their experience in the TLC-Instructional Leadership program?

I hope that students who graduate from the TLC-Instructional Leadership program leave with a sense of empowerment about what they can achieve in their role as a teacher leader. Some graduates take on new positions (such as instructional coach), while others remain in the classroom but continue to serve a critical role in promoting success for all learners at their school. 

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