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Successful implementation of an MTSS to support the academic and behavioral needs of all students is dependent upon strong leadership. It is critical for school and district-based leaders to build and foster a culture committed to providing collaborative, evidence-based, data-driven instruction, services, and interventions. Strong leadership practices embedded within a MTSS framework ensure the comprehensive provision of supports to address the needs of every student.  

Essential Leadership Elements and Skills

Professionals in leadership roles can support the successful implementation of an MTSS by teachers, related service personnel, support staff, administrators, and other stakeholders through specific skills and practices. According to the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII, 2022), essential leadership characteristics include: 

  • Vision, focus, and a consistent message related to implementation
  • A focus on schools
  • Relationships based on shared responsibility and mutual trust
  • Expert problem solving
  • Investment in professional learning
In order to effectively lead the implementation of a MTSS, all leaders involved play a part in the systems coaching process. This process supports all educators and personnel in learning, implementing, and improving their roles and practices within the MTSS for all students. The Problem Solving/Response to Intervention project provides a list of specific skills for leaders of systems coaching:

Systems Coaching Skills

Demonstrate effective interpersonal communication

Use data-based student and organizational problem-solving strategies

Disseminate content knowledge including but not limited to:

  • Organizational change
  • Integrated multi-tiered system
  • Academic/behavioral/emotional/life skills instruction
  • Families/communities

Facilitate team-based collaboration

Support leadership

Facilitate professional learning

Evaluate the impact of the coaching process and system outcomes