Independent Schools Mentoring Institute

Graduate & Professional

Working at an independent school requires a unique set of skills and dispositions. Mentors play a critical role in supporting teacher retention in the “triple threat” (teaching, advising, coaching) challenges facing independent school faculty. The best mentors foster practical skills that drive instructional innovation and possess the leadership dispositions to foster educator resilience.

Program Overview

Online and in-person | summer, 9 or 12 month programs | Certificate or professional development

Our certificate program supports educators in becoming effective and emotionally intelligent leaders and mentors for the next generation of independent school educators. Join a network of colleagues from across the globe who share your passion for quality, equity, and longevity in the independent school workforce!

As schools adjust to shifting student and educator needs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, educators are being asked to be increasingly adaptable, innovative, and trauma-sensitive. This is an important opportunity for institutions to build the leadership capacity of veteran educators who can mentor colleagues and facilitate professional development on best practices in distance learning, equitable pedagogy, and emotional resilience.

Dates: starts May or July

Independent Schools Mentoring certificate detailed schedule

Fostering a Collaborative Culture
Develop positive professional relationship, improve school culture, lead for change.
2 credits | May-June | Foundation and Full
Online & videoconference (evenings) | Two evenings per week

Coaching, Mentoring and Facilitating Instructional Improvements
Best practices in observation, feedback and consultation for mentors.
2 credits | July-August | Foundation and Full
Online & videoconference | One week intensive AND live video conference sessions before and after the intensive week; some asynchronous modules

Owning Assessments and Data for Student Learning
Facilitate and support colleagues in using assessment tools to inform decisions to improve practice and student learning.
2 credits | July-August | Foundation and Full
Online & videoconference (evenings) | Two evenings per week.

Practicum I: Professional Development and Mentoring
Cultivate facilitation skills, professional development design, implementation, and assessment, hone coaching and mentoring skills.
2 credits | September-December | Full only
Online & videoconference (evenings) | Weekly 2 hour workshops

Advanced Practicum: Professional Development and Mentoring
Create systematic improvements in professional learning and mentoring in independent schools.
2 credits | January-April | Full only
Online & videoconference (evenings) | Weekly 2 hour workshops

Space is limited. Register.

What will I learn?

The coursework in this program will help you build your professional skills, toolkit and strategies to:


Develop engaging and effective professional learning for your colleagues.


Hone your leadership and mentoring skills.


Drive improvements in student outcomes.


Cultivate an engaged and reflective professional culture at your school.


Support your colleagues with effective strategies as they implement instructional practices that are equitable, accessible and rigorous for all students.


Nurture relationships with colleagues to help enhance their emotional resilience as well as the student's.

International Collaboration

Monthly community of practice workshops will help you expand your global network of independent school mentors and coaches, and learn from what other people have found effective. This will also help you develop a lasting team of colleagues who are also leaders on their own campus.

Individualized Support

One of the best ways to improve your own coaching and mentoring skills is to receive high quality coaching and mentoring. Our program includes a year-long option where you receive individualized assistance and guidance as you practice the skills that will make you a more effective mentor and teacher leader at your school. The fall and spring “practica” facilitated experiences that help you develop professional learning experiences for your faculty, structure meaningful feedback for your colleagues, and adapt your skills to the unique circumstances, challenges and opportunities at your school.

Noncredit Options

  Foundations program Full program Full Certificate program
Length Summer only 9 months 12 months
Summer coursework X   X
Community of practice workshops X   X
Practicum (fall)   X X
Advanced Practicum (spring)   X X
Cost** $1,750 $1,750 $3,500

* Enroll multiple educators from your school and receive a discount in the per person rate.
^ Must have been enrolled in the Foundations level to upgrade to the Full program.
** These courses can also be taken for graduate credit. Contact to learn more.

“Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate and create support systems for professional learning.” Wahlstrom and York-Barr, 2011

Where and how will I learn?

Our model: Practical professional learning that extends beyond the classroom. Cohort-based, online and evening classes with individualized coaching for you; access to workshops for your school to help support you in your work.

Alongside your cohort, you will learn and apply skills in class, then implement them at your own school. Your learning continues with ongoing support from experts who help you adapt successfully to the unique challenges and opportunities of your setting. Through this model, you refine your skills and enhance the impact on teaching and learning in your school.

Mentors are successful when school administrators employ strategies that encourage the contributions of teachers. To support your work, we offer workshops for your school’s administration throughout the year.

Contact Us

Mount Holyoke College has been on the forefront of providing a rigorous education to passionate changemakers who have gone on to break new ground in education, the sciences, the arts, public service and social justice movements for over 180 years.

Amy Asadoorian
  • Assistant Director of Communications, Outreach, and Admissions

Next Steps

Apply to Mount Holyoke

Mount Holyoke seeks intellectually curious applicants who understand the value of education and are driven by a love of learning. As a college that is gender diverse, the graduate programs are coed and we welcome applications from female, male, trans and non-binary students.

Funding your graduate education

Everyone’s financial situation is unique, and we offer scholarships, fellowships and partnership programs to help make an exceptional education accessible for everyone.