School Science & Mathematics - Special Issue on STEM Teacher Leadership - Extended Abstracts due July 1, 2023

SSM Special Issue Call: STEM Teacher Leadership

Guest Editors: Brett Criswell & Jan Yow

Support Editorial Team: Christine Lotter, Greg Rushton, Wendy Smith


STEM teacher leadership can be defined in a multitude of ways as it can manifest itself in a variety of forms and across different levels of the educational system (Criswell et al., 2021). While accepting the simplicity of Wenner & Campbell’s (2017) definition of teacher leadership as involving “teachers who maintain K-12 classroom-based teaching responsibilities, while also taking on leadership responsibilities outside of the classroom” (p. 7), we augment that with Dozier’s (2004) view the STEM teacher leaders are “good [science, mathematics, engineering, and mathematics] teachers who influence others” (p. 6). The description of STEM teacher leadership has to be grounded in relevant constructs such as professional identity, professional vision, adaptive expertise, systems thinking, self-efficacy, locus of control, etc. to capture the processes by which STEM teachers develop into leaders and the manner in which STEM teacher leaders engage in their efforts at school and system improvement. We see these various constructs as providing multiple lenses on the nature of STEM teacher leadership, and also as a means to best operationalize this capacity to meet the needs of local contexts. Additionally, it allows professional developers and researchers to formulate a multi-faceted view of the mechanisms by which STEM teacher leaders influence education.


Interest and research in STEM Teacher Leadership is increasing internationally (Alemdar et al., 2018; Hite et al., 2020; Hofstein et al., 2003; Levy, 2021; Mamlok-Naaman, 2012; National Research Council, 2014; Xu, 2022; Yow et al., 2021a). One driving force behind this growing interest is that STEM teacher leadership may be an avenue to retain talented STEM classroom teachers, as well as provide support to administrators and leadership that often lack STEM education expertise (Yow et al., 2021b). Research in STEM teacher leadership sometimes focuses on single-content teacher leadership, such as mathematics teacher leadership (Borko et al., 2021; Borko et al., 2014; Knapp, 2017; Smith et al., 2017; Yow, 2013) or science teacher leadership (Criswell et al., 2018; Hanuscin et al., 2016), but it can also examine multi-content or integrated STEM teacher leadership (Hite & Milbourne, 2018; Lotter et al., 2020; Mohan et al., 2017; Yow et al., 2021b; Yow et al., 2020).


Furthermore, research has emphasized the need for continued content-specific teacher leadership development (Berg et al., 2014; Wenner & Campbell, 2017; Yow et al., 2021). For example, Gillespie (2015) speaks to the need to develop strong STEM teacher leaders to help develop and guide STEM teachers. Knapp (2017) offers an autoethnography of her journey to becoming a (reluctant) mathematics teacher leader, and how her system approach supported that. Smith et al. (2017) report on the use of an analytical framework to support mathematics teacher leadership development. Another study describes a professional development program for high school chemistry and physics teachers and cites the importance of hearing the stories of other STEM teacher leaders in developing a leadership identity (Criswell et al, 2018). Other literature has looked across STEM teacher leadership programs (Mohan et al., 2017; National Research Council, 2014).


The extant studies in STEM teacher leadership have provided a patchwork of understandings about this topic. More work needs to be done to fill in gaps. The goal of this special issue is to continue to build a more complete and cohesive research base in STEM teacher leadership. We invite a variety of manuscript types, and offer some questions for consideration that submitted manuscripts might address, though certainly should not be limited to:


  • What are identifying features that differentiate the work and necessary skillset of STEM teacher leaders from those in other disciplines?
  • What are the best mechanisms for ensuring that STEM teacher leaders become more empowered to promote productive change and positively impact student achievement?
  • What conceptual frameworks will best support professionals who work with STEM teacher leaders?
  • How are STEM teacher leaders being positioned in schools to support the teaching and learning of each and every student?
  • What innovative STEM teacher leadership models are being used internationally?
  • In what ways are STEM teacher leaders expanding the diversity, equity, and inclusion of students and teachers in STEM areas?

The review process for this special issue will take place in two stages. In Stage 1, authors will submit an extended abstract that describes key dimensions of the proposed manuscript, including a summary of the manuscript’s approach (conceptual analysis, philosophical inquiry, empirical study, case study, historical analysis, etc.) and/or methods, as well as findings and implications. This extended abstract should not exceed 1,000 words (references, tables, and figures are not subject to the word limit). The special issue guest editors will review the extended abstracts submitted in order to invite full manuscript submission. Submissions with potential suitability for the special issue will then be invited to submit a full manuscript that will go through SSM’s blinded review process for possible inclusion in the special issue.


  • Submission Deadline for Extended Abstracts: July 1, 2023
  • Issue Date for Manuscript Invitations: August 1, 2023
  • Submission Deadline for Invited Manuscripts: November 1, 2023


 Submission Guidelines

            The editorial team for this issue will be Brett Criswell, Jan Yow, Christine Lotter, Greg Rushton, and Wendy Smith. Submissions of the extended abstracts and manuscripts should follow the publication guidelines of School Science and Mathematics. Extended abstracts should be submitted to Invited manuscripts will be submitted electronically to ScholarOne Manuscripts (