Wanted: Courageous Educators

A lot has been written about the stifling effects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), including by me.  But even without NCLB, schools have always had better and worse teachers.  The proportion of each depends on the courage and vision of principals and superintendents.  Here are some archetypes of teachers I've worked beside in a lifetime in schools:

Dedicated but Settled:  These teachers devote tons of time beyond their paid hours, making sure their students get the best they can offer.  They are experienced teachers who have found a teaching style that works, get good results but resist changes -- whether to daily schedules, requirements such as writing-across-the-curriculum, checking for understanding every 15 minutes, or whatever the change du jour happens to be.  They ask of their administrators to be left alone and allowed to teach.
Settled but Uninspired: These teachers also resist changes but don't get the results those above do.  They've found ways to automate much of what happens in their classrooms, minimizing work for themselves and staying under the radar of parents and administrators.  Walk into these classrooms and see kids bent over their books, answering questions from the book or an ancient ditto sheet.  Good grades are easy to get, so even though kids may be bored, they're satisfied with their B's and A's.  Many of these began their careers with dual assignments, particularly coaching and teaching, and developed survival skills to be able to balance the two.  These teachers also prefer that administrators leave them be, but will get up from their desks and walk around the room when the principal arrives on the scene.
Innovative but Chaotic:  These tend to be new teachers, eager to engage students and try new strategies.  They infuse their lessons with labs and hands-on activities but haven't quite mastered the flow of their units and may face classroom management issues.  Perhaps they forgot a necessary tool for a lab, allowed too much flexibility and lost student attention, or are so focused on the activity they didn't notice the three slipping out the door.  These teachers are excited about teaching and learning but want guidance from administrators and other teachers to help them manage and assess the learning. 
Innovative but Controversial:  These are the above teachers now matured.  They still thrive on innovation, have some great activities they've successfully implemented for several years, but because they are constantly trying new ways of teaching and learning -- new kinds of assessments, outdoor experiences, grading alternatives, outside resources, noisy activities -- they may get occasional slack from other teachers, administrators, and sometimes students and parents.  They want administrators who understand what they're doing and support them, in spite of controversies that may come. 
While none of these is perfect, which teacher would you want for your child?  The settled teachers offer known quantities.  In their classes, you know exactly what you'll get.  The innovative teachers may try great ideas but may also see some of their ideas flop.

In any school or district, the prevalence of innovative teachers depends directly on the courage and passion of the administrators.  Cautious administrators who don't want their boats rocked will avoid hiring them and, when they do have them, constrict their freedom.  Innovative teachers will either be driven away, to find more welcoming schools and districts, or will succumb and stop innovating, boring themselves and perhaps their students.  Innovative teachers may have more complaints (interestingly, "settled but uninspired" often have the least), particularly when grades are issued.  They often hold students to a higher standard and that might be reflected in grades.

Sadly, too many administrators came from the "settled" ranks themselves and don't understand or respect the innovators.  What about your school's leadership?