Boston, MA

Director of Programs/ Chief Program Officer, Institute for Early Education Leadership & Innovation at UMASS

The Organization

The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (the Leadership Institute) at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) invites applications and nominations for a new Director of Programs. The Leadership Institute mobilizes racially and linguistically diverse leadership from the field to create programs and systems for early care and education in which all young children and their families thrive. It also conducts original research and partners with numerous governmental, philanthropic, and community-based organizations. Taken together, this work is driving the systems change urgently needed so that high quality and affordable programs of early care and education are accessible for all children and families.

Position Overview

The Leadership Institute is experiencing significant growth as it scales its entrepreneurial leadership programs throughout Massachusetts and assists other states with the creation and implementation of broad-based entrepreneurial leadership programs for early educators. The Leadership Institute’s nimble and adaptive team seeks to expand its leadership ranks with a new Director of Programs/Chief Program Officer responsible for program management, important public and private partnerships that support program growth, and knowledge management.

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Programs will be responsible for providing overall strategic and operational guidance across all program areas of the Leadership Institute, and working with the Executive Director and other members of the leadership team to develop and implement the Leadership Institute’s programs. This position requires demonstrated experience in leading program strategy, successfully managing a diverse team of individuals, and content knowledge about the field of education or early childhood. The Leadership Institute and its programs have grown rapidly and significantly, over the last five years, with a current budget of $5.6M and 15 staff members.

For the full position description and to apply, please visit:

Organizational Overview

The Leadership Institute envisions a world in which high quality and affordable programs of early care and education are accessible for all children and families. To achieve this vision, the Leadership Institute drives systems change in four key ways: cultivating racially and linguistically diverse leaders from within the field with entrepreneurial leadership training; sustaining these leaders and supporting their development and influence through a growing leadership and innovation network; conducting original research; and sharing new knowledge about the impact of leadership in early care and education and its potential as a powerful lever for social change with its partners in government, philanthropy, and community-based organizations.

The Leadership Institute is a university-wide initiative housed in the College of Education and Human Development at UMass Boston. Founded in 2016, the Leadership Institute was inspired by and created in response to the demand from graduates of its Post-Master’s Leadership Certificate Program (first piloted in 2012) for more entrepreneurial leadership development programs.


All programs of the Leadership Institute are anchored with a 40-hour curriculum in entrepreneurial leadership that cultivates leadership mindsets, increases knowledge about how to make change and innovate, and equips educators with the tools to develop solutions to problems of practice. Programs include Leading for Change at the Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program; the Post-Master’s Certificate in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice; the ECE Small Business Innovation Center; StrongStart Professional Development Centers in Massachusetts; and the Early Childhood Support Organization.

The Leadership Institute’s Leadership and Innovation Network sustains and re-energizes established and emerging leaders in early care and education with events, hackathons, and a statewide annual conference that shares new research and best practices in the field. Participation in Leadership Network events is built into our entrepreneurial leadership curriculum. In this way, students create connections that reinforce their work as leaders and continue to grow long after they graduate.

The Leadership Institute conducts original research on how systems and policies can be redesigned to cultivate the leadership of early educators at scale. We establish applied research-practice-policy partnerships that contribute new knowledge about early educator entrepreneurial leadership as a powerful lever for change. Current research and evaluation projects include studies on leadership in early care and education settings, a study on collaborative learning and leadership in organizational change and quality improvement interventions, and a randomized control trial to evaluate whether childcare business model innovations can strengthen entrepreneurial leadership and increase the supply of ECE programs.

To learn more about these programs and services, visit the Leadership Institute’s website: and blog:

Opportunities and Challenges Facing the New Director of Programs

The individual filling this newly created role will join a strongly collaborative culture of thoughtful innovators, and will be offered the chance to engage in the following challenges and opportunities:

Lead continuous strategic planning and programmatic growth and implementation

The Director of Programs will ensure that programs are aligned with the organizational vision and mission, will lead processes to set program goals and timelines, and will ensure resources needed to achieve those goals are in place. They will make sure that programs are implemented with high quality and a responsiveness to the field and will work with staff to develop systems that ensure superior project management and program delivery. The Director will develop strategy for program growth that is feasible and meets the organizational vision and mission and track key project outcomes.

Develop and steward new and existing partnerships

The new Director of Programs will manage relationships with partner organizations and lead integration of program models with Institute programs when relevant. They will contribute to revenue generating activities by cultivating existing relationships with funders and public agency partners, cultivating and deepening relationships with key investors and other collaborators. The Director will also develop ways to share quantitative and qualitative data with partners and program participants, as well as facilitate feedback and organizational learning.

Manage, grow, and develop an engaged staff

The Director will develop, coach, and retain high-performance team members, supporting their professional development and growth as leaders. They will supervise three directors who collectively manage 12 staff and managers and will demonstrate effective communication practices across the team to foster cohesiveness, positive workplace culture, and a robust learning environment. The Director will collaborate with leaders of the Leadership Institute for finance and administration, fundraising, and communications to ensure a high-quality infrastructure to support programs. The Director will develop the necessary systems, processes, and tools to better support the facilitation, collection, and sharing of knowledge that is generated by the programs.



The Director of Programs will be thoroughly committed to the Leadership Institute’s strategy and mission. All candidates should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and 10 years of demonstrated management, leadership, coaching, and relationship management experience, as well as a minimum of 3-5 years’ experience in early childhood education and care.

·        Program Leadership and Management: The Director of Programs will have demonstrated experience in leading a variety of initiatives in the early education/education fields. The ideal candidate will have a track record of effectively leading and growing a performance-based program and staff. They will have developed and operationalized strategies that facilitated effective implementation of programs.

·        Team Building and Development: The successful candidate will have recruited, managed, and developed a strong team. This individual will serve as a coach to motivate and mentor their team. The Director of Programs will build a collaborative and high performing team.

·        Communication and relationship management: The Director of Programs is expected to have strong written and verbal communication skills. This individual will be able to use those skills to communicate clearly and effectively with staff and external partners to facilitate the work.

·        Minimum of 10 years of management experience.

·        Demonstrated understanding of the early education landscape, including some direct experience leading in the early education field.

·        Commitment to quality programs and excellence in organizational and project management.

·        Ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders including advisory groups, coalitions, forums, trade associations, foundations, corporate sponsors, and practitioner groups.

·        Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people.

·        Integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed with demonstrated passion for the Leadership Institute’s mission and commitment to working collaboratively.

·        Solid judgment and apparent leadership skills.

·        A team player, who can interrelate and operate effectively with peers and other associates within a collegial, yet demanding, work environment.

·        An individual who is able to handle a variety of constituencies, manage multiple tasks simultaneously and thrive in a complex environment with multiple priorities.

·        Strong analytical skills; basic business intuition, and common sense.


More information about the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation may be found at the Leadership Institute’s website: and at the Leadership Institute’s blog:

This search is being led by Tamar Datan and Britni Russell-Bianchi of the search firm NPAG. To apply, please submit your resume, cover letter and list of three professional references via the UMass Boston online portal :

The Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

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