STEP: Supporting Teachers as Empowered Professionals

June 2013

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Teachers are always looking for ways to help each of their students grow and develop. Yet as teachers, we have limited opportunities to grow in our own profession. We recognize the need for a variety of supports at different stages of our career and envision a profession that allows us to leverage our strengths to both improve student outcomes and increase teacher retention.

We created STEP (Supporting Teachers as Empowered Professionals), a teacher-generated policy toolkit that focuses on creating meaningful leadership pathways for teachers.


  • Create a pathway of career steps including: emerging teachers, professional teachers, lead teachers, and innovating teachers, each with additional leadership roles.

  • Create the option of new school role categories: in-classroom, hybrid (teaching roles with significant leadership time away from classrooms), and out-of-classroom (ability to step outside of the classroom temporarily in order to expand their impact to a greater number of students and colleagues).

Proposed pathway steps and measures

Our proposed pathway provides a way for teachers to grow, develop and gain leadership through their careers.

Proposed pathway steps and measures

A career pathway should recognize the many ways teachers can build leadership inside and outside the classroom.

About the Teacher Action Team

We are a diverse team of 13 teachers who met over several months to review research on different national efforts to address teacher attraction and retention, as well as local strategies being proposed or piloted by UTLA, Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) and local charter networks. We conducted over 120 peer and administrator interviews to gather critical stakeholder feedback, and surveyed more than 300 teachers and school leaders.

Lisa Alva-Wood High School English Teacher at Roosevelt High School

Omar Araiza 4th-grade Special Education Teacher at Education NOW Academy

Sada Ashra 6th-grade History Teacher at Community Charter Middle School

Phylis Hoffman 3rd-grade Teacher at Harry Bridges K-8 Span School

John Kannosky High School Art Teacher at Animo Venice High School

Edward Kussel-Zigelman High School Math and Dance Teacher at Dorsey High School

Brandy Price Principal at Ingenium Charter School

Jennifer Ramirez Kindergarten Teacher at Barack Obama Charter School

Christopher Records Special Education Teacher at School of Social Justice at Linda E. Marquez High School

Bianca Sanchez 2nd-grade Teacher at NOW Academy

Kelly Vallianos 3rd-grade Teacher at Dominguez Elementary School

Marina Velez High School Spanish Teacher at Lou Dantzler High School

Katherine Woodfield High School Math Teacher at Lakeview Charter High School