Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation Earns $12.4M to Lead Statewide Professional Development Initiative

Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation | Thu Aug 29, 2019

Grant-funded Work is Part of EEC’s Massachusetts StrongStart, an Integrated System for Supporting High Quality Early Education and Care

The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (the Leadership Institute), housed in UMass Boston’s College of Education and Human Development, announces today that it has been selected to administer the Department of Early Education and Care’s (EEC) three-year, $12.4 million StrongStart Training and Technical Assistance Grant. Through this award, the Leadership Institute will oversee the design and implementation of training and technical assistance services through five StrongStart Professional Development Centers (PDCs) located across Massachusetts.

“UMass Boston is very proud to host the StrongStart Partnership,” said Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman. “It expresses so well the ambitions of this campus to lead the Commonwealth in vital areas of educational practice and exemplifies the multiplier effect of collaborations with the Donahue Institute. We are excited to see the next chapter of early childhood education unfold here.”  

Through the StrongStart PDCs, the Leadership Institute at UMass Boston will support quality improvement in early education and out-of-school time programs and the professional development of leaders and educators to steer that change.

“The StrongStart partnership provides further opportunities for UMass Boston to apply world-class expertise and provide leadership that enhances early childhood education throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said College of Education and Human Development Dean Joseph Berger. “We in the College of Education and Human Development are thrilled with this opportunity to generate significant positive educational impacts throughout the state while serving as a national model for others to learn from and emulate.”

The Leadership Institute will work closely with EEC to coordinate and align the state’s professional development and quality improvement systems for the early education and out-of-school time workforce, which includes more than 9,000 licensed programs and an estimated 70,000 early educators working in family child care, center-based child care and out-of-school time programs.

“We’re incredibly excited to partner with EEC to support the state’s early education and out-of-school time workforce. The new StrongStart system places Massachusetts at the cutting edge of innovation in the design and delivery of professional development for providers, educators, and leaders in the field,” said Anne Douglass, the Leadership Institute’s founder and executive director. “Our recent research on the early education and care workforce shows that there is a high demand for professional development training and for ongoing support for leaders and leadership development for those who work in programs that support children and their families. StrongStart will have technical assistance and training relevant for educators and administrators at every level of their career, and these services will be designed and delivered by people who have deep experience in the field.”

In addition to training and technical assistance, the PDCs will offer a statewide leadership coaching program to support leaders as they create cultures of continuous learning and improvement in their organizations and establish professional development opportunities in the workplace that strengthen teaching quality and children’s learning.

StrongStart PDCs are located in the Western, Central, Northeast, and Southeast regions of the state, as well as Metro Boston. Complete contact information is available on the Massachusetts StrongStart Professional Development System website, which launched today concurrently with this announcement.

In addition to EEC, the Leadership Institute’s strategic partners in StrongStart’s program design and delivery are led by the Donahue Institute at the University of Massachusetts, and also include Holyoke Community College, The Community Group, Child Development and Education, Inc., the Ounce of Prevention Fund, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, the Pyramid Model Consortium, and representatives from child care, Head Start, family child care and out-of-school-time care, other professional development providers, and leaders in the sector.

Strong Start logo

About the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation
The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation offers training in entrepreneurial leadership to frontline early educators and child care business owners serving young children with a focus on disadvantaged communities. It conducts original research to identify how systems and policies can be redesigned to cultivate the leadership of early educators at scale. It also establishes applied research-practice-policy partnerships that contribute new knowledge about early educator entrepreneurial leadership as a powerful lever for change. The Leadership Institute is a university-wide initiative housed in UMass Boston’s College of Education and Human Development. Founded in 2016, the Leadership Institute was created in response to demand from graduates of our first entrepreneurial leadership development programs piloted in 2012.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city’s history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 10 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 16,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit