Lead Teacher Designation Pathways

Lead-Teacher Professional Educator Designation

To learn more about becoming a Lead-Teacher Professional Education in Arkansas, access the Lead-Teacher Professional Designation (PDF)

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 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 lead-teachers 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-teacher professional 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-Teacher Professional Educator

Lead Professionals 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-Teacher Professional Educator designation. Regardless of the pathway, a teacher interested in receiving a Master Teacher 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 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 Master Teacher Professional designation:
Teaching Matters: The ADE Emerging 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 supports 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 carefully designed to support the teacher-leader role. Completion of this stack of micro-credentials prepares teachers to effectively coach other teachers and provide better support for students’ academic and social-emotional needs.
Southern Arkansas University (SAU) Instructional Facilitator/Lead Teacher’s Master’s: This 30-hour master’s degree is a fully online program designed to enhance teaching skills and create leaders within schools and districts. Successful completion of this program allows teachers to add the Instructional Facilitator endorsement (licensure code 521) and the Lead Professional Designation to their license. 

Benefits of Lead Professional Designation

Teachers and administrators may consider the following ideas as they collaborate to establish a system of advancement, reward, and retention for the master-teacher designation: 
  • The addition of a quality point(s) when applying for employment in the district, making teachers with the Lead Professional designation highly competitive applicants. 
  • The requirement of Lead Professional designation for teachers who serve as instructional facilitators.
  • Provide stipends for mentoring aspiring-professionals or early-career professionals. 
  • Additional opportunities for compensation through Arkansas’ Education Service Cooperatives. 
  • A revised salary schedule to reflect designations on Arkansas’ Career Continuum. 

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: 501-683-1224