If a primary educational goal is to create and sustain more democratic schools by enabling the growth of practitioners as democratic leaders (Cochran-Smith, 2003; Giroux, 1992; Jenlink, 2002), then teachers must be given opportunities to express their tacit beliefs as developing democratic-accountable leaders. Democratically accountable leadership can be understood as a dynamic force that shapes the social justice work of organizational leaders. Responsive preparation programs in educational leadership foster both the democratic capacity of aspiring leaders and their readiness for the challenges of accountability-driven systems. A significant issue in public education regards ideological-based accountability restrictions on the educational process. In this discussion, I attempt to refocus attention on the quality of K-12 education in the United States, away from standardized test scores and teacher credentialing toward democratic leadership. My strategy involves exploring ideas relevant to aspiring leaders of democratically accountable educational systems with respect to tensions between democracy and accountability. I propose a conceptual framework known as democratic accountability that places democracy and accountability in harmony as well as in opposition. This orientation to educational leadership fits with the "ideology, or social justice question" that Cochran-Smith (2003) posits as one of the eight key questions that serve as overarching frameworks for problematizing multicultural teacher education (p. 11). I also use teacher quality to refer to the capacity of educators to deal effectively with the underlying forces of accountability and democracy that drive the educational enterprise and their work. Rice (2003) confirms that the teacher characteristics affecting education reform and policy are "preparation in both pedagogic and subject content, credentials, experience, and test scores" (p. 2). Hence, the characteristics applicable herein exist outside the nomenclature of teacher quality that prevails within school and policy contexts.