This article examines how teachers who have achieved their educational goals in rural contexts of socio-economic and educational deprivation have redefined their roles using socio-educationally entrepreneurial practices, and consequently, have created an identity of 'competence' for themselves. We identify social entrepreneurship-developing self-defined extra-school roles-as the first step such teachers take to construct for themselves an identity of competence in social leadership. This competence helps them build an 'educational domain consensus' among relevant stakeholders. The development of local, teacher-initiated, community networks accompanies the building of this consensus. Incorporating the expectations conveyed to them by this community network into the formally given framework of professional teaching skills helps the teachers develop a new sense of themselves as competent educational leaders. The new identity, which is defined by a mix of educational and social leadership qualities, commands respect, invites appreciation and communicates moral authority. It helps teachers move beyond enrolment and attendance concerns to a renewed focus on within-classroom activities.
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