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News Pella Receives Teacher Leadership Grant

Published on March 4, 2014

Superintendent ­­­­Greg Ebeling is pleased to announce today that the Pella Community School District is in the first group of Iowa school districts selected to launch teacher leadership systems next school year.

Teacher leadership systems will allow teachers to work in greater collaboration with colleagues and school administrators to improve instruction and increase student achievement. Out of Iowa’s 346 school districts, 146 applied to start teacher leadership systems in 2014-15 and 39 were selected. A list of all selected school districts is at the end of this press release.

“Pella Community School is certainly honored and excited about receiving this grant. It will provide nearly $660,000 into the district for teachers to assume additional leadership responsibility. We truly believe that the best way for our system to continue to improve is through the shared leadership of teachers.” – Greg Ebeling

Teacher leadership systems are the centerpiece of Iowa’s historic 2013 education reform package. They stand to be the foundation for implementation of other state reforms, such as high academic standards. With higher expectations for all students today, it is critical to better support the complex work educators must do.

Teacher leadership systems will be phased in over the next three years across Iowa, with the goal of all districts participating by 2016-17, although whether to do so is a local decision. The Commission on Teacher Leadership and Compensation recommended which districts should be in the first group. Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck made the final decision.

Pella district’s teacher leadership model includes instructional coaches who will work closely with classroom teachers to better meet the individual instructional needs of students. Teacher leaders will be paid stipends in exchange for taking on extra responsibilities.

Districts that applied were required to set a vision and goals for the teacher leadership system in their community. Requirements include setting a minimum salary of $33,500 for full-time teachers, providing intensive mentoring for new teachers, and adopting a rigorous selection process for applicants for teacher leadership roles.

Districts selected will receive about $309 per pupil next school year to implement their teacher leadership systems. The annual cost statewide is nearly $50 million in FY15, growing to about $150 million annually in the third year. After the initial year of district implementation, their teacher leadership funding rolls into the Iowa school finance formula.

The next step for school districts is selecting teacher leaders. Gov. Terry Branstad’s FY15 budget recommendations include $4 million for the Iowa Department of Education, working with Area Education Agencies, to provide technical assistance and leadership development for the districts in the first group implementing teacher leadership systems in 2014-15.

The selected districts, enrolling about one-third of Iowa students, are:




Cedar Rapids


Council Bluffs





East Marshall

East Union


Greene County


Humboldt (in collaboration with Twin Rivers)


Le Mars



Mount Pleasant


North Polk






Rock Valley



Sioux City

Southeast Polk

Twin Rivers (in collaboration with Humboldt)

Van Meter


West Des Moines

Western Dubuque