Teaching to lead.

Mount Holyoke College’s Professional and Graduate Education (PaGE) division has launched a new master of arts in teacher leadership program aimed at training and enhancing the professional learning of teachers within their own schools.

“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,” said Megan Allen, a national board certified teacher and Florida's 2010 teacher of the year, who leads the master of arts in teacher leadership program for PaGE.

“This is about taking back education and putting it in the hands of teachers," she said.

The program, which received accreditation on April 24 includes professional learning courses for public- and private-school educators. The master of arts in teacher leadership is available online or in person, and is designed for effective classroom teachers seeking to build their professional and personal leadership skills. The first group will begin classes May 26.

Participants may take classes while they continue to teach and leverage what they learn through on-the-job training and mentorship.

The program includes teacher-leaders-in-residence, who will work as embedded practitioners and cofacilitate many classes. Each class will include coaching and dialogue sessions with nationally recognized teacher-leaders. During the capstone semester, graduate students will have a teacher-leader coach to support their individual projects, internships and goals. And through a unique partnership with the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, state teachers of the year will be serving as teacher-leaders-in-residence.

Among the program's unique aspects:

“This is a program I wish I had,” Allen said. “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?”

In addition to increasing earning potential for participants, the program offers teachers the chance to change the face of education by building stronger professional learning cultures inside and outside their schools, Allen said.

Prospective students may apply for three major scholarships totaling $8,500: The Kevin Grover Distinguished Teacher Leader Scholarship, the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Educator Award, and the Emerging Teacher Leader Scholarship.

• Learn more about the program.