|This dissertation examines the identification, development, and utilization of teachers as leaders in thirteen high performing elementary schools across nine districts in eastern North Carolina. Survey data on these schools were collected from their principals, with survey questions based on expectations of teacher leaders and school principals outlined in their respective North Carolina evaluation instruments, as well as best practices identified in a comprehensive review of the literature. Additional information was gathered from principals through follow up interviews. Participating school principals viewed teacher leadership as more closely identified with leadership tasks, and less with leadership titles. when selecting teachers for formal and informal leadership roles, participating school principals valued qualitative characteristics such as a teacher's reputation as a strong classroom teacher, interpersonal skills, and attitude toward education, as well as quantitative characteristics such as content area expertise and student growth scores. Participating school principals valued the leadership development of all teachers, with little differentiation between the leadership development opportunities provided to identified leaders as compared to those provided to all teachers. Participating school principals reported an emphasis on maintaining a school culture that promotes teacher leadership through their use of distributed leadership, their establishment of collective responsibility for instructional planning and student learning, and their willingness to involve teacher leaders in key administrative responsibilities such as decision-making and hiring new staff. This dissertation concludes by offering recommendations for how my school district might learn from these successful elementary schools in order to improve our own teacher leadership practices to promote school and district improvement, and considerations for other districts as they move forward with teacher leadership.