newsroom banner


January 09, 2018

NIET News: Winter 2018

Celebrate! Elevate! Activate! Katie Negen (TX), Joni Readout (IA) and Theresa Cross (LA) win Milken Educator Awards for their exceptional teacher leadership.
Happy New Year from NIET

A message from NIET CEO Dr. Gary Stark

Reflecting on 2017, I commend our partners for their hard work and dedication to advance educator effectiveness in schools, districts, states and universities. I had the great pleasure of recently visiting with educators in Louisiana, Iowa, Tennessee and Texas - just to name a few locations - and thoroughly enjoyed learning about their progress. A highlight of my travels was joining the Milken Family Foundation in presenting awards of excellence to Katie Negen, Joni Readout and Theresa Cross. They personify the true meaning of teacher leaders, driving instructional improvements in their schools and working with administrators to keep faculty and students on task to reaching their goals. Read more about them on our news page.

Below we have included information on a new principal training, advice from teachers and research that we hope will get your new year off to an inspirational start.

Thank you all for making educator effectiveness the cornerstone of your improvement efforts. I wish you the very best in the new year and look forward to seeing you at our National TAP Conference March 23-24, 2018, in Washington, D.C.


Dr. Gary Stark

Teacher Training and Insights

Strengthening the Skills of School Leaders in Motivating Teachers

How can principals support teacher engagement and motivation? In this new NIET training, principals identify specific strategies to make feedback and support more meaningful and relevant, value inquiry and curiosity, and reinforce and reward effort.As St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools Superintendent Kevin R. George puts it, "When a principal starts the conversation with, 'How can I help you to improve?' rather than 'Here is what you are doing wrong,' that is motivating to teachers." Read more and hear Superintendent George's full insights in the video below.

5 Practices for Principals to Ensure Equitable Access to Effective Teachers

Let's use "Ms. Brown" to reference a remarkable teacher at your school. All students deserve to be taught by a Ms. Brown, but on every faculty there is a continuum of practice and talent that principals have to deploy to meet the needs of students, explains NIET President Dr. Patrice Pujol in this NIET Notes blog post. As principals, we have to think about how to best utilize the Ms. Browns on our faculties to ensure that each student, not just the "best" kids, has equitable access to great teachers, Pujol says. She outlines five actions principals can take to make this happen. At the top of the list? Hire highly effective teachers and create an environment in which all teachers can do their best work.

Making the Greatest Impact: Interview with Iowa Teacher Leader Traci Lust

Saydel Community School District in Iowa experienced the largest growth in ACT scores in the district's history while implementing the TAP System. Traci Lust, exective master teacher and NIET educator advisory board member, describes the structure and supports of TAP's teacher leadership system that have made her school and district a united force to improve instruction and student learning. Read her interview.

Do you have a story to share? Email We want to hear from you!

Eye on Research

Summary of 10 Studies about the Impact of the TAP System

NIET researchers as well as other educational scholars - including researchers at universities, independent third-party research groups and large independent evaluation firms - have examined the implementation and impact of the TAP System. From student learning and teacher retention to closing the achievement gap, we have compiled a summary of key findings which you can easily peruse, reference and take to your next presentation or meeting on TAP. Download the summary and check out the NIET site research section for new findings on teacher attitudes, student achievement, and more.

High Levels of Instructional Leadership Equal Better Student Performance

We know from NIET partner schools that meaningful and impactful teacher leadership, paired with rigorous standards and clear structures, is key to increasing teachers' authority and raising student achievement. A new report from the New Teacher Center (NTC) affirms that when schools engage in instructional leadership at high levels, students perform better. The problem is that the strongest characteristics that foster this progress are not generally present in schools. This NIET Notes blog post breaks down three characteristics NTC identifies as essential: a shared vision, an effective school improvement team and the participation of teachers in determining content for professional learning. Learn how NIET's teacher leadership provides the structure schools need to maximize student outcomes.