Teacher Leadership CAGS

Mission and Vision

The mission of the CAGS Graduate Program in Teacher Leadership in the UMass Boston College of Education and Human Development is to provide accomplished career teachers with the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions for leadership in the classroom, the school, and the community.

Teacher leadership answers pressing concerns for a career ladder for professional teachers. Massachusetts currently offers professional licensure, which must be attained within the first five years of teaching. Beyond this, teachers must renew their certification every five years, but there are no further stages for development. 

Teacher leadership is exercised on four levels.

  1. Teacher leaders are exemplary teachers in their own classroom. They practice action research in combination with quantitative data analysis to improve teaching and learning. Some exemplary teachers may decide to also pursue certification with the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. 
  2. Teacher leaders serve in leadership roles outside the classroom through modeling, mentoring and coaching. They may lead school data teams, or professional learning communities, or spearhead parental engagement, or collaborate with community partners. The practice of teacher leadership underscores a democratic approach to education that honors professional expertise and promises shared decision-making.
  3. Teacher leaders are a vital component of whole-school change. In concert with the principal, parents and other stakeholders, they are important contributors to a culture of achievement. For example, they can lead professional development activities or serve on school site councils. Today the traditional model of heroic one-person school leadership is being replaced with models of distributed leadership and teacher leaders are emerging as an important component in school reform, especially in turnaround school policy. 
  4. Finally, some teacher leaders may choose to serve at the district, state or federal level on policy advising groups or in advocacy work. 


Program Overview


This 36-credit graduate program in teacher leadership gives teachers an opportunity to further develop leadership skills and pursue special topics relevant to their career, all in the company of like-minded professionals. The program will require two years to complete with two courses each summer, fall and spring. Fall and spring classes are provided on weekdays in the late afternoon or early evening; summer classes are scheduled in a concentrated three-week period in July. This schedule allows working professionals to remain in the classroom.

The 12 courses for the CAGS come in sets:

Leadership Set: all 4 courses required

Data Set: choose 2 courses

Practicum and Capstone Portfolio: 2 courses

Students will implement a collaborative action research project, which will be designed in the research courses and implemented in practicum plus assemble a capstone portfolio.  The capstone will include a final report on the action research project, significant papers and projects and a statement of personal vision for the implementation of teacher leadership in the candidate’s current school.

Content Knowledge: choose one

SPED/ELL advanced courses: choose one

Electives: Choose two from broad areas such as instruction, technology or content knowledge.

Our goal is to both broaden knowledge and skills and to deepen areas of expertise.

Beginning in the second semester, students will work with a faculty advisor to select elective courses that will challenge them to enlarge their skill set, while also deepening their areas of strength.  As their capstone experience, all students must pass a comprehensive portfolio examination synthesizing a significant portion of their course work. The portfolio offers students an opportunity to collect and reflect systematically upon the various components of their own learning, drawing on readings, coursework, and pre-practicum and practicum experiences.

UMass Boston has worked with the Boston Teacher Leadership Resource Center to align with the 12-credit teacher leadership certificate program of the Boston Teacher Leadership Resource Center. Students entering from BTLRC will join other professionals from the Boston Public Schools and the surrounding districts. 

Successful applicants must have an earned master's degree and experience in K-12 education.

Application information for the Educational Administration program can be found at:


For more information, please contact:

Jack Leonard, EdD

Educational Administration and Teacher Leadership

Office: Wheatley Hall, First Floor, Room 076a

617.287.7601 (department office)

617.287.4026 (personal office)