Independent Schools Program

Adult students around a table in Williston library.

Unique programming

Educators from independent schools are uniquely positioned to support holistic student development — in the classroom and beyond. This is why we have courses specifically designed for teachers working at independent schools that support the more robust ways in which they serve their learning communities. That includes classes on advising and counseling students beyond the classroom, coaching and athletics, and what it means to be a steward of your school’s mission and a part of a collaborative community.

Our goal is to effectively support the success and retention of teachers. For experienced teachers, this is about helping them continue to grow and be engaged in helping shape the culture at their schools, and in the field more broadly. For early career educators, we support retention by ensuring they receive the training and mentoring necessary to meet the multiple demands of independent school teaching.

“I am 10 times more active in faculty meetings than I was before starting my coursework. With the knowledge I’ve gained, I feel confident I can contribute value to discussions about teaching and learning.” – Andrew Syfu MAT’18

Amplify your impact

Each student completes a capstone project that is often the first stepping stone to making a greater impact in their classrooms, at their schools and in the field. Our alums have frequently gone on to be leaders in their communities in whole new ways. They:

  • Transform their classroom practice and improve student learning.
  • Receive teaching awards at the local, state and national levels.
  • Publish articles in professional journals and magazines.
  • Give keynote addresses at major conferences.
  • Become thought leaders who are shaping the future of education.

Students reflect on their capstone projects:

A selection of capstone projects

Susan Michalski

Susan Michalski MAT’18

Supporting First-year Boarding School Teachers
Supporting, Recruiting and Retaining Teachers of Color in Private Schools in the Greater New England Area

Jacob Rivers MAT’19

Supporting, Recruiting and Retaining Teachers of Color in Private Schools in the Greater New England Area
Alex Tancrell MAT'19, Mentoring Program for New Teachers at an Independent Boarding School

Alex Tancrell MAT’19

Mentoring Program for New Teachers at an Independent Boarding School
William Eberle MAT'20, Identifying Trends in Faculty Comments

William Eberle MAT’20

Identifying Trends in Faculty Comments
Matthew Porter MAT'20, U.N.I.T.E.: A Student Peer–Mentorship Program

Matthew Porter MAT’20

U.N.I.T.E.: A Student Peer–Mentorship Program

Independent School Fellowship Program

The hallmark of our Independent Schools Fellowship Program is the collaboration between Mount Holyoke College and our partner schools. Not only does this program create the opportunity for faculty to learn while they teach, it also demonstrates the commitment our partner schools have to developing and retaining their faculty. The fellowship program is one of the ways our partner schools are fostering professional leadership among their faculty and inviting faculty to help build out the infrastructure for a high-performing, collaborative work environment.

Fellows work with advisors from their schools to help them reflect on and apply the work they are doing in the graduate program. Their capstones reflect an area of interest for the student and an area that the school would like to focus on. In addition to additional advising and mentorship, fellows also receive sponsorship from their schools. An Emerging Leaders scholarship from Mount Holyoke makes the program even more affordable.

Created by independent schools faculty for independent schools faculty

You will study with master teachers, teacher leaders and scholars. Our faculty are practicing teachers, active in the field. They understand the context: both the challenges you face and how to support your success. They are inspiring collaborators, mentors and advisors who will help you grow.

Don’t just take our word for it: The Princeton Review rated Mount Holyoke faculty No. 1 in the “Professors Get High Marks” category.

Meet some of our independent schools faculty:

Pam Mulcahy

Pam Mulcahy

Mulcahy is founder and director of NENTS Conferences, a teacher-training institute offered by AISNE and CAIS for new independent school teachers.
Photo of Greg Martin

Joseph Gregory Martin

Martin is dean of the upper school and head of history at the Perkiomen School in Pennsylvania, as well as an author and speaker.
Photo of Kim Evelti

Kim Evelti

Evelti is curriculum director and teacher at The Williston Northampton School and a Microsoft Innovative Education Expert and Surface Expert.

See what our alums have to say

Photo of Todd D’Alessandro MAT ’18

Todd D’Alessandro MAT’18

Middle and upper school Spanish teacher, coach and dorm parent.
Photo of Susan Michalski MATL’18

Susan Michalski MAT’18

French teacher at the Williston Northampton school, an independent boarding school in Easthampton, MA.
Photo of Emily McDowell MAT’18

Emily McDowell MAT’18

Associate Director of College Counseling at The Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, MA

Related news, initiatives and partnerships

A partnership has developed between The Williston Northampton School and Mount Holyoke College.

Supporting faculty, addressing unique needs

A partnership has developed between The Williston Northampton School and Mount Holyoke College.
Global Action Research Collaborative on Girls' Education

Global Action Research Collaborative

Mount Holyoke College partners with National Coalition of Girls’ Schools
Independent Thinking

Fiscal sustainability, responding to change

How do schools respond and adapt to changing global, demographic and financial realities?

Professional development for independent school educators

Working at an independent school requires a unique set of skills and dispositions. Mentors play a critical role in supporting teacher retention — independent school faculty face the “triple threat” challenges of teaching, advising and coaching responsibilities. We offer two non-degree professional development options for independent school educators who do not need a master’s degree.

A teacher pointing to a graph on a whiteboard

Independent Schools Institute

Designed for independent school educators seeking to enhance their teaching and/or prepare for leadership roles.

Independent Schools Mentoring Institute

Become an effective and emotionally intelligent mentor for the next generation of independent school educators.

Contact us:
413-538-3478
independent-schools-g@mtholyoke.edu