Distance Learning

Mount Holyoke College Debuts Hybrid Teacher-Leader Development Program

Massachusetts' Mount Holyoke College is launching online and face-to-face educator programs intended to train teachers how to be more effective in their own schools. The Professional and Graduate Education division received accreditation for a new master of arts in teacher leadership degree. The first cohort will begin classes at the end of this month.

This 32-credit program for full-time teachers is completed as a series of certificates built on the Teacher Leader Model Standards, intended to help define the attributes of teacher leadership. The standards were developed by a consortium of national education organizations, institutions of higher education, practitioners and state education agencies.

Students will be able to use Zoom, a video conferencing program from Zoom Video Communications, to attend classes online in real time; however, there will also be asynchronous components.

Students in the program complete a capstone project based on their personal leadership plans and needs in their own classrooms or schools. Participants will collaborate with teacher leaders in-residence through a partnership with the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Each of the teacher leaders has served as teachers of the year in their own states.

"This groundbreaking program helps teachers to develop better professional learning experiences and to cultivate leadership among their peers while getting key decision-makers on board. This is about taking back education and putting it in the hands of teachers," said Megan Allen, a teacher recognized as Florida's 2010 teacher of the year, in a prepared statement. Allen runs the leadership program for Mount Holyoke's professional and graduate education division.

"This is a program I wish I had," she added. "Many of us who are working in education leadership have learned on the job, in the moment. Mount Holyoke's teacher leadership program wants to change the narrative. What if we carefully thought about the development of teacher-leaders? What if we helped them build the skills they needed for instructional leadership, forming partnerships with stakeholders, or working with policymakers?"

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.