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

August 4, 2022
by IEELI
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Leading for Change in California: Luis Figueroa

As a college student, Luis Figueroa thought he wanted to teach elementary school—until he graduated and took a part-time job as a teaching assistant in an early care and education (ECE) program, where he found that he preferred working with the birth-to-age 5 set.

“At that age, they are amazed by everything, basically, so you can make a lot of difference in their lives,” he said.

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July 25, 2022
by IEELI
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We’re hiring!

We are now hiring for multiple positions in order to extend our work and its impact. You can learn more about each position by clicking on the link.

Instructional Leadership Program Coordinator: The Instructional Leadership Program Coordinator for the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation provides day-to-day management, leadership, and coordination for all aspects of the Instructional Leadership program, including grant compliance, monitoring and reporting, and maintaining communication with the funder.

Research Analyst (several openings): The Research Analyst(s) is responsible for project implementation working under the direction of the Research and Evaluation team at the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation. Research Analysts’ work focuses heavily on activities related to data collection, analysis, and reporting of findings. Depending on the qualifications of the successful applicant, the position may entail writing duties and some independent project tasks.

Metro Boston Early Childhood Leadership Coach: The Early Childhood Leadership Coach will be responsible for the delivery of coaching services as part of the leadership coaching team at the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation and its grant-funded projects with the MA Department of Early Education and Care.

ECSO Early Childhood Coach: The Early Childhood Coach will be responsible for the delivery of coaching services as part of the leadership coaching team at the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation and its grant-funded projects with the MA Department of Early Education and Care.

StrongStart PDC Manager Program Assistant: The Program Assistant for the StrongStart PDC Manager at the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation is responsible for supporting the five regional StrongStart Professional Development Centers (PDCs) across the state. The Program Assistant will provide administrative support for the Statewide PDC Management team to enhance coordination of PDC activities, management of deliverables, and attainment of PDC goals.

July 25, 2022
by IEELI
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Leading for Change in California: Deo Agustin

Deo Agustin’s career in early care and education (ECE) began during the Great Recession, when she was laid off from her job as a program manager at a tech company. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in math before immigrating to the U.S. from the Philippines with her family in 1993, Deo had worked her way up from the motherboard assembly line to worldwide materials management to program management.

Deo Agustin

She credited her professional success to hard work, intelligence, and an interest in understanding how systems work—qualities that came in handy when her mother, who ran a family childcare in Adelanto, CA, suggested they weather the recession by going into business together. For Deo, opening a family childcare business was motivated by practicality rather than passion. She needed to work, but she had never felt called to care for children. After trading in her corporate uniform of blazers and heels for child-friendly casual wear, Deo wondered what she had gotten herself into.

“I was crying,” she recalled. “I’m like, ‘Oh Lord, is this really for me? I’m changing diapers!’”

Fourteen years later, Deo feels very differently about what she and her mother created.

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July 25, 2022
by IEELI
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Early Ed Leadership Institute Awarded $3.8M

The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at UMass Boston (the Early Ed Leadership Institute) announces that it has been awarded $2.5 million by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to manage and enhance the delivery of professional development and training offered to the state’s licensed early educators through EEC’s five regional StrongStart Professional Development Centers (PDC). The state also awarded the Early Ed Leadership Institute $753,469 to operate the Metro Boston StrongStart Professional Development Center and $600,000 to scale its Early Education Quality through Instructional Leadership (EQIIL) professional learning model. EQIIL supports early education and care leaders to use job-embedded professional learning to promote instructional quality and a culture of continuous learning.

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July 21, 2022
by IEELI
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Leading for Change in California: Roxana Flores

Since founding her home-based family childcare business 12 years ago, Roxana Flores has cared for more than 50 children at Roxana’s Day Care in San Jose, CA, many of them now tweens and teens who still visit her. She provides professional coaching for other family child care providers, and during our May 14, 2022 Leadership Forum on Early Education, Research, Policy, and Practice, Flores shared her expertise as a panelist in a session about how to better recognize and elevate family childcare.

Roxana Flores

The journey to becoming a successful business owner was not an easy one. As a new immigrant to the United States from Mexico and the single parent of a young child with special needs, Flores launched her career as a family childcare owner in part so that she could better care for her daughter. At one point, her days stretched from the early morning hours until well past 10 at night as Flores held down a job, got her daughter to daily speech therapy appointments, took courses toward her early care and education license at night, and maintained her household.

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June 18, 2022
by IEELI
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Ninth annual Leadership Forum on Early Education, Research, Policy, and Practice showcases inspiring and innovative Change Projects  

What did attendees of our ninth annual Leadership Forum on Early Education, Research, Policy, and Practice think of the event? 

They loved it! 

But don’t take our word for it. Take theirs. 

Below is a representative sample of feedback from attendees: 

  • “Hearing so many perspectives and new solutions for persistent challenges!”  
  • “The passion!”
  • “The opportunity to network.” 
  • “Learning from different perspectives and hearing how they can collaborate to continually improve our field.” 

“This is what we see year after year and it’s what makes this event so special,” said Lynne Mendes, Director of Leadership Programs for the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation. “At this event, early educators showcase their expertise and make connections they would not have had the chance to make otherwise.” 

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April 12, 2022
by IEELI
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New Study Finds What Drives Wage Gaps Among Early Educators in Massachusetts

A new study found that teachers’ educational attainment and current teaching positions explained wage gaps among a statewide representative sample of ECE center educators in Massachusetts. The study also found that center educators who self-identified as Black earned higher hourly wages than their White, Hispanic/Latinx, and other-race counterparts with similar characteristics. Hispanic/Latinx educators earned wages comparable with their White counterparts.

“Teachers with a bachelor’s or higher degrees earned higher wages than those with lower educational attainment, and being a lead teacher instead of an assistant teacher was also associated with higher wages,” said study author Anne Douglass, PhD, Professor of Early Care and Education at UMass Boston and the founding executive director of the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation. “The strong association between educational attainment and hourly wages underscores the importance of implementing intentional strategies to create equitable opportunities for pursuing higher education degrees for all early educators.”

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March 16, 2022
by IEELI
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From preschool teacher to PhD holder

Just as Becky DelVecchio launched her research project for her doctoral thesis, the world shut down due to COVID-19. 

She had originally planned to do an ethnographic study on the psychologically restorative benefits of nature play for children and families by embedding in a nature program to study the lived experiences of children, educators and families as they move through the program. That became impossible when COVID-19 health and safety restrictions forced the closure of ECE programs across the state. For months after reopening, most programs prohibited visitors to their centers and schools. 

She instead adapted her project to a mixed-methods study, which included a quantitative  online survey directed at caregivers of 3-4-year-olds in Greater Boston, followed by qualitative interviews with a sample of the respondents. 

DelVecchio was pleased to receive 173 completed surveys, given the pressures parents were under, especially in the early days of the pandemic. “I was really thankful and just continue to be thankful to all the families who contributed to my research,” she said. 

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February 16, 2022
by IEELI
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Advancing scholarship in early ed leadership: Amanda Wiehe Lopes

Dr. Amanda Lopes

For the Early Ed Leadership Institute’s Amanda Wiehe Lopes, earning a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education and Care capped a personal, educational, and professional journey that began when she was a teenager ignoring advice from the adults in her life to become a teacher. 

“I thought of teachers as people who wore khakis and had a lot of rules,” recalls Wiehe Lopes, who successfully defended her dissertation in July, 2021. “That was my experience growing up and I just didn’t see myself in that role. I hated khakis, I hated rules —and still do.” 

Instead, Wiehe Lopes wanted to be an artist. So she studied drama and performance art and eventually taught theater to mostly pre-school age children at the Seattle Children’s Theatre Drama School. 

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September 11, 2021
by IEELI
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2021-2023 Early Education Leadership Fellows announced

3The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (the Early Ed Leadership Institute) at UMass Boston is pleased to announce the selection of nine Early Education Leadership Fellows for the 2021-202 cohort of its Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice (PMC).

The Early Education Leadership Fellows were selected from a highly competitive pool of over 120 applicants. They represent a variety of public, private, and community-based programs. The 2021-2022 cohort will spend the next two years immersed in intensive training in relational and 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 early childhood education leaders. Continue Reading →

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