Teachers may assume leadership at Reiche

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PORTLAND — Starting next year, a Portland elementary school could be run by a small group of teachers rather than a full-time, professional administrator.

The School Committee on Tuesday conducted a first reading of a proposal that would make Reiche Elementary School a teacher-led school. The committee will hold a workshop on the proposal on May 31, before voting on June 7.

School Committee member Ed Bryan, who served on an exploratory committee, said Reiche would be one of the first — if not the first — in the country to make the transition from a traditional, principal-led school to a teacher-led model.

The exploratory committee has been studying the teacher-led model since former Principal Maria Gendron was reassigned last year from Reiche to East End Community School.

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Superintendent James C. Morse Sr. said Gendron cultivated teacher-leaders during her tenure at Reiche.

When discussing how to replace her, Morse said the teachers expressed interest in taking over leadership of the school.

“I was intrigued by (the idea),” Morse said. “This could be a way for Reiche to stand out as unique.”

The Reiche proposal was made after a group of teachers visited five teacher-led schools, including the Boston Teachers Union School and the Denver Math and Science Leadership Academy.

Morse said the Reiche proposal would turn over leadership to two teacher-leaders, but Bryan said leadership might be shared by three teachers.

Morse said the teacher-leaders would be elected annually by school staff.

Leaders would be supported by four committees composed of teachers: internal communication and climate; external communication and enrichment; instructional leadership; and professional development.

Teacher-leaders would receive stipends, but Morse on Monday couldn’t say how much. He said the new model would not cost more than the amount budgeted for a full-time principal, which, according to School Department documents, is $100,000.

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