Rising Into School Leadership

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by Michelle Chung Ng
Teacher, Spark Academy

I can still remember the day my coach suggested I should apply to be in Rocketship’s Rising Leaders program. I was excited by the challenge and the opportunity to grow professionally. As a member of the Rising Leaders cohort 15-16, I have grown professionally by being honest about my development areas, being pushed out of my comfort zone and sharing openly with those in my cohort. Sitting in a room with other highly effective teachers who want to grow and learn as a professional inspires me.

Rising Leaders is a leadership development program that is offered to teachers at Rocketship who are interested in growing their adult management skills and have taught for more than two years. The program is designed both for teachers who want to grow their leadership in the classroom or begin the transition into school leadership. We meet once a month with our cohort, which is composed of about 20 teachers across the network.  

San Jose rising leaders collaborate together during their December meeting.

San Jose rising leaders collaborate together during their December meeting.

Our meetings have a mix of small group and whole group discussions. Teachers in our cohort have varied visions for their leadership path – some want to continue to grow in their classroom teaching role and others are interested in growing into school leadership or joining Rocketship’s Network Support team.

This is beneficial because different perspectives and ideas are brought to the discussion. Ideas and experiences bounce back and forth during discussions, which creates an authentic discussion that is captivating. Each session has a specific outcome and I can honestly say that I have left every meeting with a token of knowledge. It’s like magic – every time I leave a meeting I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned and put it into practice.

As a teacher inspired to go into school leadership, this program has helped me identify my own triggers when I receive feedback and how to give feedback. As a leader on campus and hopefully a school leader one day, I know these skills and knowledge will be crucial in my everyday meetings and work with teachers.


Michelle is a TK teacher at Spark Academy with six years of teaching experience in various grade levels and subjects. She hopes to increase her impact in education as a member of the Rising Leaders Program and, in the future, pursue school leadership. When she’s not teaching, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and going to the beach.

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