Lead Professional Educator Designation

The Lead Professional Educator designation provides a career continuum that allows teachers to divide their instructional time between responsibilities to students and responsibilities for adult leadership. The ADE recognizes the critical role of teacher efficacy in student achievement, but it also recognizes the impact teacher leadership plays on school reform. The Lead Professional Educator designation was created to extend the reach of exceptional teachers to more students and teachers. The intent behind this designation is to encourage districts to provide the Lead Professional Educator with protected time in their workday to work with students in some capacity and spend the remaining part of their day working with teachers. The Lead Professional Educator designation is one-way DESE is supporting statewide initiatives, such as Opportunity Culture, and seeking to ensure all students have access to excellent teachers. 

Becoming a Lead Professional Educator

Lead professional educators need training and support to lead students and colleagues effectively. ADE has approved several micro-endorsements and competency-based programs that provide job-embedded professional learning as pathways to the Lead Professional Educator designation. A teacher interested in receiving the Lead Professional Educator designation must have the following: 
  • Documentation of three (3) years of licensed teaching experience. This experience may include time spent teaching with a provisional license, but the teacher must have a standard Arkansas teaching license to be eligible. 
  • Evidence of an effective or highly effective rating on TESS on the applicant’s most recent summative evaluation conducted within the previous 4 years. 

Teachers who fulfill the bulleted criterion may select one of the pathways below to earn the Lead Teacher Professional designation:

TNTP’s Lead Professional Educator Training: Teachers completing TNTP’s Lead Professional Educator pathway are prepared to mentor and coach new teachers at the start of their careers, help teachers establish a vision for student achievement, be agents for change within their schools, and use their skills and knowledge to motivate and positively influence the members of their school communities. This job-embedded training consists of five learning modules, completed over one school year, centered on instructional coaching and leadership.  TNTP is a national nonprofit founded by teachers with the belief that our nation’s public schools can offer all children an excellent education when teachers are empowered to lead.

National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) Arkansas Lead Professional Educator Pathway:
Teachers participating in NIET’s Lead Professional Educator pathway attend and engage in four core teacher leadership-focused trainings: Leadership Structures for Teachers, Continuous Development of Instructional Practices, Using High-Quality Data to Drive Instruction, and Facilitating Growth for Others. Between trainings participants will complete performance tasks with support from NIET specialists and a network of teachers in their cohort. NIET believes that teacher leaders are a powerful lever for improving educator effectiveness and ensuring all students have opportunities for success.

Arkansas Leadership Academy: Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Teacher Leader Program is designed to prepare teachers for advanced leadership roles within the classroom and beyond. Teachers who complete the six days of face-to-face sessions and submit a portfolio assessment demonstrating proficiency of the Teacher Leader Model Standards will be eligible for the Lead Professional Educator designation.

Teaching Matters: The ADE Lead Professional Educator for Lead Designation is for Arkansas teachers who want to master high-leverage competencies and share those same competencies with other teachers. Participating teachers earn four micro-credentials through a blend of personalized, job-embedded learning with structured support and guidance from an experienced educator who provides feedback and support.  Evidence is submitted through a Learning Management System for scoring, and upon successful completion, the participating teacher is issued a micro-credential showing mastery of competency and the designation of Lead Professional.  

Boundless Learning Co-Teaching Micro-Credential: The Arkansas Co-Teaching Project partnered with Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Technology in Education (CTE) to design professional learning for co-teachers to better equip them to meet the needs of all learners in an inclusive classroom. Instructional facilitators who support co-teaching partnerships in schools participating in Boundless Learning’s year-long professional development are eligible to participate in the Boundless Learning Co-Teaching Micro-Credential for Lead Professional Designation. Evidence is submitted to Johns Hopkins University’s CTE for verification of competency through practice and application. 

BloomBoard’s Lead Professional Educator Micro-Endorsement: BloomBoard offers teachers pursuing the Lead Professional Educator designation a stack of 6 micro-credentials designed to support the teacher-leader role. Completion of this stack of micro-credentials prepares teachers to coach other teachers and provide better support for students’ academic needs. Micro-credentials in this stack require job-embedded demonstrations of the micro-credential competency, so successful completion will be dependent on evidence and artifacts gathered through work with students and colleagues.

Lead Professional Educator Programs of Study: Several Arkansas colleges and universities offer DESE-approved programs of study that lead to the Instructional Facilitator Endorsement and, with additional coaching training, the Lead Professional Educator designation. The following institutions have approved programs of study:

Universities with currently approved programs include: 
Arkansas Tech University
Henderson State University 
Southern Arkansas University
University of Central Arkansas

The High Reliability Teacher (HRT) Program: Teachers who participate in the HRT Program through Marzano Resources learn the process necessary for continuous improvement of teaching practices, grow professionally in instruction and assessment, improve student achievement, and expand their career opportunities. Teachers who successfully complete Level 3, Course 4 (Valid and Rigorous Feedback) of the HRT Program are eligible to receive the Lead Professional Educator designation. Successful completion of Level 1 and Level 2 are prerequisites for Level 3.



    For more information, please contact:

    Bobette Ray, Program Advisor
    Arkansas Department of Education
    Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
    Office of Educator Effectiveness
    Four Capitol Mall
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    Phone: 501-350-0188