Fostering Empathy Through Understanding: Listening to the Voices of Administrators and Teacher Leaders

Part Six: Final Thoughts

This is the final installment of a six-part series exploring the relationships between administrators and teacher leaders. Curated by Kristen Engle, Laurie Rigg, and Megan Vosk of the AMLE Teacher Leaders Committee)

Teacher leaders and administrators work closely to ensure that the mission, vision, and values of their schools are consistently implemented. However, conflict and mistrust between both sides can arise as a result of power imbalances and misunderstandings. As part of our work with the AMLE Teacher-Leaders Committee, we conducted a survey in December, 2022 asking AMLE members to share what they thought were the most pressing issues facing teacher-leaders today. Of the responses, the most common issues cited related to conflicts with administrators.

To help bridge the gap between teacher leaders and administrators, as well as build empathy, we thought it would be helpful to ask both groups to answer questions about their roles and responsibilities. We sent six questions to teacher-leaders and administrators in our national and international networks. What follows are the responses that were shared. While they have been edited and condensed for clarity, their substance has not been changed.

This Q&A will be shared in a six-part series and, at the conclusion of the series, will also be published as an easy reference/starting point for discussions between teams. If teacher leadership is of interest to you, please also check out and register for our three part webinar series “Growing Yourself as a Teacher-Leader,” coming this fall.

Part Six: Final Thoughts

In Parts One-Four we explored the questions

In this, Part Six, of the series we explore the viewpoints of both teacher leaders and administrators in response to the question, “Is there anything else you want people to know about your position?” This question provided teacher-leaders and administrators with an open forum to share anything else that was on their minds related to the topic of building empathy. 

“Is there anything else you want people to know about your position?”

Teacher Leaders say...Administrators say...
● It is a rewarding position in many ways and helps you develop as a leader.
● Both teachers and administrators need additional spaces for their voices to be heard about the larger policies that guide us.
● Teacher-leadership roles should be shared among teachers. It’s good for different people to take on leadership roles and grow professionally.
● Teacher leaders are vested in their schools as they want students and staff to be successful.
● Shared leadership is servant leadership. The effect strengthens when building status & recognition increases. The overall result should be an infusion of positivity and professionalism into the climate of the building.
● It is a great honor and privilege to lead.
● Difficult conversations are hard for everyone.
● If you have a mind that craves diverse experiences as well as lots of input, and if you can use professional challenges to grow personally, it’s the best job in the school.
● Learn from the people around you.
● Appreciate the opportunity to support teachers in their own growth and professional journeys.
● Love what you do…even on the hard days.
● Act like a family. Take time to pick one another up and carry on for the students. Work together.
● We are doing our best. We are human and vulnerable too.
● It is a great honor and privilege to lead.

What do you think? Did any of the responses resonate with you? Surprise you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Many thanks to all the voices who shared their perspectives with us, especially those from AMLE’s Principals/Assistant Principals and Teacher Leaders committees.

List of contributors:


  • Liz England, Vientiane International School
  • Casey Faulknall, Hong Kong International School
  • Andy Ferguson, Vientiane International School
  • Amy Ganaden, Oakhill Day School
  • Mike Hammond, Oliver W. Winch Middle School, South Glens Falls, NY
  • Ian Hoke, International School Basel
  • Tanay Naik, UNIS Hanoi
  • Tara Waudby, International School Basel

Teacher Leaders:

  • Megan Balduf, Frost Middle School, Fairfax, VA
  • Rachel Booth, Commonwealth Charter Academy, PA
  • Cait Burnup, Franklin Avenue Middle School, Franklin Lakes, NJ
  • Jason DeHart, Wilkes Central High School, Wilkesboro, NC
  • Kristen Engle, Rockwood South Middle School, Fenton, MO
  • Miguel Gomez, Murray State University, Murray, KY
  • Roger Jack, Maple Shade School District, NJ
  • Joseph S. Pizzo, Black River Middle School, Chester, NJ; Centenary University, Hackettstown, NJ
  • Laurie Rigg, Rugby Middle School, Hendersonville, NC
  • Megan Vosk, Vientiane International School, Laos