Early Ed Leadership & Innovation

We train frontline early educators and child care business owners in entrepreneurial leadership, and research ways to support them at scale

UMass Boston Announces New Cohort of Emerging Leaders in Early Childhood Education


UMass Boston’s Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation has selected ten Early Educator Leadership Fellows for the 2018-2019 cohort of its Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice.

This group of experienced early childhood educators will spend the next year immersed in intensive training in entrepreneurial leadership, early childhood policy, and the science of early learning. They will also connect with and join our growing network of emerging and established ECE leaders.

“We’re extremely proud of our new fellows. They’ve already accomplished so much in the field of early care and education in the classroom, as program managers or business owners,” said Anne Douglass, founder and executive director of the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation, also known as the Leadership Institute. “We will build on their background and equip them to lead transformative change to improve early learning opportunities for young children in Boston and beyond.”

The 2018-2020 Early Educator Leadership Fellows are:

  • Stephanie Bluestein: Founder and Owner, Robin’s Nest Family Child Care, Saugus
  • Stephanie Crawford: Kindergarten Teacher, Boston Public Schools
  • Jessica De Jesus Acevedo: Co-owner, Little Star of Ours Child Care Center, Cambridge
  • Danielle Grow: Early Childhood Education Coach, Boston Head Start and Early Head Start
  • Emilee Johnson: Educational Coordinator, Boston Children’s Hospital Child Care Center
  • James Jones-Obrien: Kindergarten Inclusion Teacher, Boston Public Schools
  • Mary O’Brien: Early Childhood Teacher, Boston Public Schools
  • Danielle Riccio: Pre-K Teacher (Autism), Boston Public Schools
  • Amy Scott: Director, Play and Learn School, Westborough
  • Dorothy Williams: Founder and Owner, Dottie’s Family Child Care, Dorchester

Launched in September 2016, the Leadership Institute provides early educators, directors, and small business owners with training in relational and entrepreneurial leadership designed to foster the skills, competencies, and mindsets needed for driving change and innovation in early care and education research, practice and policy.

More than 100 institute alumni have formed a powerful leadership corps, leveraging their practical experience and leadership training to improve ECE quality and children’s learning, and mentoring the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. Past graduates of the Post-Master’s Certificate Program have gone on to pursue doctoral study to advance scholarship in the field, sought new positions to make change on a scale greater than that possible in their prior job, joined professional advisory boards, and launched entrepreneurial ventures including the establishment of a mission-specific school.

The Leadership Fellows were selected based on their experience and interest in advancing the field of early care and education. They represent a variety of public and community-based early education programs and employer- and home-based child cares. Preference was given to those working in the city of Boston and/or serving children from low-income families. As fellows, each educator was awarded a scholarship to defray the cost of the Post-Master’s Certificate Program.

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